East Wilkes captured the Blue Ridge Athletic Conference tournament softball championship with a 5-0 win over previously unbeaten West Wilkes on Thursday afternoon at Central Wilkes Middle School.
The Scorpions (13-2) used a simple, yet effective, approach to knock off the Knights (14-1) — stellar pitching and timely hitting.
And in some cases, one player, Haley McManus, provided a little bit of both.
McManus pitched a complete game inside the circle with 16 strikeouts and allowed just two hits. The first hit — a single from Lexy Church — didn’t occur until the bottom of the sixth.
In addition to her work in the circle, McManus gave No. 2 East Wilkes a 5-0 lead in the top of the seventh with a solo home run to center field.
Her counterpart, West Wilkes’ Lily Proffit, also had a solid performance as she scattered eight hits and struck out seven but took the loss in a complete-game effort.
The Scorpions got to Proffit in the top of the first with a pair of runs behind an RBI single from Jayden Hutchison and an RBI ground out from Maggie Bullard, who also made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the top of the third.
East tacked on an additional run in the fifth without a base hit.
Hutchison and McManus drew a pair of lead-off walks and both runners advanced after a groundout from Bullard. Hutchison would ultimately score off an RBI groundout from Hailey Edwards.
After Church broke up McManus’ no-hit bid in the sixth, she moved into scoring position after Jayla Fisher’s single with two outs.
But McManus closed the door as she struck out Proffit.
Kyleigh Lane and Abby Hatley paced the Scorpions at the plate with two hits apiece.