Article and photos from Laieke Abebe
Wayne County Post 11 softball completed their dominant run through Area 1 East play with a championship on Tuesday evening.
Post 11 completed the sweep of the Area 1 East championship with an 11-2 victory over Johnston County Post 109 in Benson. After losing in the winner-take-all contest two years ago, coach T.J. Smothers’ squad responded in a big way this season and it culminated with a title.
“With the talent in Wayne County and surrounding areas, I knew we could put something special together,” Smothers said after the game. “When we lost this game last time we were in it, it hurt, but that helped us prepare for this series.”
NC State commit Laine Marak ripped an RBI double off the fence to get Post 11 going. Post 109 responded with a leadoff triple by Belmont Abbey commit Sage Farmer and a sacrifice bunt brought her in to score.
An RBI infield single by Brittany Butts and a two-run single by UMO commit Alyssa Smothers extended the Post 11’s lead to 5-1 in the second.
Smothers would add a pair of run-scoring base hits in the fourth and seventh innings to continue their momentum. Cana Shrock also added a rbi single to cap off the night.
“The turning point was the second inning,” Smothers said about his team’s offense. “We were able to scratch three runs across and Gracelyn Massey got us out of some jams in the circle.”
In their first game in nearly three weeks, Wayne County Post 11 dominated en route to a 7-0 shutout win in game one against Post 109 on Monday. That was all thanks to a dominant performance in the circle by Wayne Christian’s Brianna Verme.
After the former Princeton standout and Barton College comitt Massey was relieved, Verme came in and pitched lights out once again. The rising senior three 4 2/3 scoreless innings to keep Post 109 at bay after a strong start.
With the win, Post 11 advances to the N.C. American Legion Fastpitch Softball state tournament. Tournament play begins next Monday at Crest High School in Boiling Springs and it’ll be hosted by Shelby Post 82.
“We knew if we hit the ball well, we’d be alright,” Smothers said. “We’ve got a great core of pitchers as well, so hopefully we can carry some momentum into next week.”