The ‘thump’ returnsPisgah pounds Brevard, North Knights to stay perfect in WNCAC
CANTON — Hey girls, don’t look now but the Pisgah varsity softball team has found its “thump!”
In two big WNC Athletic Conference games this week against contenders, the Black Bears scored 19 runs, pounded out a total of 25 hits, including seven doubles, a triple and a tape-measure home run as Pisgah defeated Brevard, 6-2, on the road Tuesday and mercy-ruled at home North Henderson, 13-3, in six innings on Wednesday.
Manager Cyrena Goodwin’s Black Bears improved to 7-0 in the WNCAC and 7-2-1 overall. North Henderson slipped to 3-3 in the conference and 6-5 overall, while Brevard fell to 11-2 and 5-2 in the WNCAC.
Against the Knights, which Pisgah had 14 hits against Kim Cannon, sophomore outfielder Ashley Penland started the slugfest in the home-half of the first with her first-ever varsity homer, a game-tying impressive blast over the right field wall.
“When I hit the ball, I didn’t think it was going out,” laughed Penland, who finished with four hits and a triple shy of the cycle. “I haven’t hit a home run since middle school. But when it went out, I was so excited I just started laughing as I rounded the bases.”
But by the second inning, North Henderson didn’t think it was funny the way Pisgah continued to pound their starting pitcher.
The Black Bears increased their lead to 5-0 with four runs as Penland and junior second baseman Sheridan Pressley ripped RBI singles and senior catcher Mahaila Irvin drilled a two-RBI double.
North Henderson scored two unearned runs off sophomore pitcher Callie Kuykendall in the third to cut the Pisgah lead to 5-3.
But the Black Bears got them back in the bottom of the third when Nadia Hudson scored on a throwing error and Penland drove in senior Taylor Galyean with a one-hop double off the left centerfield wall.
The Black Bears picked up two more runs in the fourth to take a 9-2 lead on a two-RBI single by first baseman Alex Litrico.
Pisgah added two more runs in the fifth and three in the sixth to enforce the 10-run mercy rule.
Penland had two singles, a double, a home run and drove in four runs to lead the 14-hit attack against the Knights, while Hudson ripped three singles, scored twice and drove in a run. Pressley (2B, RBI) and Irvin (2 2Bs, 2 RBI) had two hits each.
Against Brevard, Pisgah erased a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the fifth and a run in the sixth.
Pressley led the 11 hit-attack with three singles and Penland had an RBI double. The No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the lineup both finished 5-for-9 in the two games. Hudson had two hits, including a triple. Irvin had a two-RBI double against Brevard.
Kuykendall earned two wins inside the circle, hurling back-to-back complete-games. She allowed six hits to North Henderson and gave up four to the Blue Devils, which she retired the final 13 batters she faced.
“Mahaila really kept me up in those three innings against Brevard,” said Kuykendall, who made one mistake and gave up a two-RBI double in the third. “She always knows what to say to keep my confidence level up.
“The pitch that Brevard got that two runs on the double was a mistake on my part. Irvin set up outside and I missed and threw a fastball down the middle. I should have pushed that ball to the outside where her glove was set up but it did not end up that way.
“I’m really proud of my team and we just need to keep up the hard work and continue to get better every day.”
Pisgah hosts at 4 p.m. the East Henderson Eagles today at the Diamond on the River Complex.