Pisgah beats its nemesisBats and ace pace Black Bears in first softball meeting with Franklin
CANTON — The Pisgah varsity softball team got a jump in its season series with an old WNC Athletic Conference nemesis Tuesday afternoon.
The Black Bears defeated visiting Franklin, 7-4, in a WNCAC showdown at the Diamond on the River Softball Complex.
The Panthers dropped to 0-2 in the WNCAC, while Pisgah improved to 2-0 in the WNCAC and 4-2 overall.
“I am glad the team is starting to come together,” said Pisgah Manager Cyrena Goodwin. “The seniors are stepping up to lead this team. There is still a lot of work to be done but I’m pleased by the the way we’re playing.”
As it was so many times in the past, the game was expected to be a pitching duel between Franklin’s Kaitlin Bishop and Pisgah’s Callie Kuykendall.
But it turned into a somewhat of a slugger’s fest as both teams combined for 16 hits.
The decisive inning was the bottom of the sixth when Pisgah broke open a 4-4 game with three runs. Designated hitter Alex Litrico got it started with a lead-off double and junior pinch runner Ashley Penalnd scored on sophomore shortstop Brooklyn Allen’s sharp single to give Pisgah a 5-4 lead. Following senior second baseman Sheridan Pressley, who ripped a line-drive single, and Allen scored on Franklin shortstop Hailey Hamilton’s throwing error to stretch the lead to 7-4.
Kuykendall gave up six hits, three earned runs and struck out five Panthers to earn the win from inside the circle. Bishop, who sunk to 0-2 on the season, gave up five earned runs and was tagged for 10 hits.
Pisgah got on the scoreboard first in the home-half of the second inning when junior catcher Shelby Tomassi crushed a solo homer over the rightcenter wall. But Franklin answered in the top of the third with a run on a pair of singles and a sac bunt to tie the contest at one.
“I have faced Bishop several times and she has always tried to pitche me low and away,” said Tomassi. “I made an adjustment in my swing, got a pitch away that she left up in the strike zone and drove it. At this point in the season, I have a lot of confidence in the way I am swinging the bat.”
The Black Bears came back and took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third when Allen scored on Kuykendall’s groundout.
The Panthers refused to cave and tied it again in the top of the fourth at two on Allen’s throwing error.
A half-frame later, Pisgah went up two, 4-2, on Henson’s RBI double and Allen’s RBI triple.
Franklin third baseman Jordan Carpenter belted a two-home run in the top of the fifth to tie it (4-4) for the four time.
“I made a bad pitch and she hit it hard,” said Kuykendall. “But we have condifence in our abilities and we knew we were going to win the game. My teammates have my back and I have confidence in my abilities inside the circle.”
Allen, Pressley and Litrico had two hits each for the Black Bears, which host West Henderson today at 4 p.m. at the Diamond on the River Complex.
Pisgah traveled to Swain County for a non-conference game on Thursday. At press time, no results were available.