Making the connection

Wilkes Central junior Katie Nichols delivers a two-run double in the first inning of the Eagles’ 11-1 win over Elkin. Nichols was twice named the team’s player of the game this past week.

Behind in the count, Wilkes Central’s hitters choked up and delivered an 11-1 victory over Elkin in Moravian Falls on April 6.

Clutch, two-out hitting led to the Eagles’ first six runs, according to Coach Colby Shell. “The pitching, defense and hitting are all coming together right now,” he said. “I like the direction this team is headed.”

Junior pitcher Isabelle Curry allowed only one hit and no earned runs in improving to 6-1. She walked three and struck out 12.

The varsity game was shortened to six innings due to the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference’s 10-run-advantage rule.

Central never trailed after scoring twice in the bottom of the first. Madison Hamby led off the frame with a bloop single to center field. Christa Walsh and Saleen Miller then drew walks to load the bases with one out.

Katie Nichols next delivered a two-run double to right-center field, plating Hamby and Walsh. Nichols, a junior who was Shell’s player of the game, was 3-for-4 at the plate with a game-high three RBIs.

Central catcher Miller threw out Lily Robbins attempting to steal third base, ending the top of the third inning and preserving a 3-1 Eagle lead. Miller threw out a second would-be base stealer later and has caught six runners stealing in seven games.

“I have to give a shout-out to my hard-working catcher, Saleen, as well,” added Shell.

In the bottom of the third, senior Karlie Anderson was hit by an Elkin pitch and stole second with two outs. She scored when Sydney Ferguson delivered a bloop single down the first-base line into shallow right field.

The Eagles ended the game early with five runs in the sixth, coming on five consecutive hits. The team notched a season-best 15 hits.

Eryn Ferguson, a freshman, rapped three hits like Nichols. She drove in a pair of runs, as did junior Sydney Ferguson. Abby Underwood and Drema Vickers had doubles for the Eagles.

The Eagles improved to 6-1 while the Buckin’ Elks slipped to 3-4.

Central clips North

Wilkes Central took a 6-4 decision over North Wilkes in Moravian Falls on Thursday.

The Eagles struck early with four runs in the bottom of the first. Katie Nichols and Eryn Ferguson delivered RBI singles in the frame.

“We put some pressure on the defense early and got some runners on,” said Colby Shell, the Eagle coach.

Nichols, a junior, went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored twice, en route to being named Shell’s player of the game. Junior Sydney Ferguson paced Central with two RBIs. The Eagles managed six hits as a team.

North scored three runs without a hit in the sixth off Eagle reliever Madison Hamby, who walked four batters in two innings of work.

“We just have to play better,” said Colby Shell, the Eagle coach. “We got in a little funk this week and just have to find our way out.

“Every great team slips from time to time. The important thing is to grow from it and move forward.”

Isabelle Curry (7-1) went five frames, allowing three hits and a single unearned run. The junior walked one and struck out seven.

The Eagles bettered to 7-1 while the Vikings are winless in eight games.

West clips East

League-leading West Wilkes dominated the middle innings en route to an 8-3 win Thursday over East Wilkes in Millers Creek.

The Blackhawks scored all their runs in the third, fourth and fifth frames. The Cardinals scored three times in the sixth and seventh off West freshman Lily Proffit.

Proffit (5-0) and the Blackhawks (7-0) remained unbeaten on the season. The freshman hurler allowed two hits and a single earned run while walking four and striking out 10.

“We had another good outing from Lily on the mound,” noted West Coach Michael Woodruff. “Our defense remained solid and we got some great timely hitting again, led by Lizzie Church.”

Church had a double and triple to pace West’s eight-hit attack while Sophie Nichols and Kendall Stanley also had two hits apiece. Carly Parsons led the hosts with three RBIs.

The Cardinals, coming off a shutout of North Wilkes the day prior, slipped to 2-6 in the MVAC.

East blanks North

East Wilkes shut out North Wilkes, 12-0, in Ronda on April 6.

“It was a good night for our seniors with all the uncertainty going on in our program with Haley McManus,” said East Coach Derrick Hill. “It was nice to get a W at home for the seniors.”

McManus, a right-handed sophomore pitcher, has experienced muscular issues on the right side of her body that are often markers of multiple sclerosis (MS).

“She has been tentatively diagnosed with MS,” said East’s coach, Derrick Hill. “It is not definite at this time but they are 70% or so sure. She has lost the feeling in her arm and hand and can’t feel the ball. She gets fatigued very quickly so we are having to use her judicially. She is gradually becoming herself on the field but it is a process.”

As a freshman, McManus was 1-2 in the abbreviated 2020 season, which included a five-inning no-hitter against Calvary Day School.

The Cardinals improved to 2-5 while the Vikings fell to 0-7.

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