It took nine innings for the Person High School softball team to finally break through, but when it did, the Rockets were able to salvage a split in a key Mid-State Conference doubleheader against Morehead Wednesday in Roxboro.
Sophomore Kaley Ingle powered the Panthers to a 5-0 victory in the first game and Person rallied from an early hole to edge Morehead 3-2 in the nightcap.
The five-inning doubleheader was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was pushed back a day because of wet conditions following torrential rain Monday. It was again delayed about an hour after a flat tire on the Panthers’ bus forced a late arrival to Roxboro.
Ingle made sure the first game was over in short order.
The sophomore pitcher tossed a complete-game no-hitter with 11 strikeouts. Ingle twice struck out the side and was two outs away from a perfect game. With one out in the fifth, Person’s Mariah McCowan worked her way from a 2-2 count, fouled off four consecutive pitches and earned a walk to spoil Ingles’ potential perfect game.
She finished off her no hitter in style, striking out the final two hitters she faced.
Ingles did plenty of damage at the plate in the first game, going 3-for-3, including a towering first-inning solo homer to dead center.
The Panthers padded their lead with two runs in the fourth inning, the big blow coming on an RBI double to left by Abbey Corbin. They added two runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Kyndall Crawford and Kailey Walker.
Crawford was 2-for-3 and scored once, while Madeline Boothe and Emma Craig each had hits.
Morehead got off to a fast start in the second game with the first four hitters reaching base.
Clean up hitter Megan Powell drove in the first runs of the game with a bullet to left field, scoring Crawford and Walker.
Ingle tried to score all the way from first but was gunned down at the plate for the first out of the inning.
The Panthers wouldn’t have another baserunner until the bottom of the fifth inning.
Person pitcher Lillie Davis quieted the Morehead bats, recording 13 consecutive outs with four strikeouts.
Powell got the start in the second game and held Person without a hit until a soft-liner to left from Hannah Duke to leadoff the third inning.
Person finally got on the board after eight consecutive scoreless innings in the fourth inning and tied the game 2-2.
Taylor Sullivan walked to lead off the inning and Gabby Jones followed with a perfectly-placed bunt just down the third base line to put two runners on.
After a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position, the Rockets got on the board on a Lillie Davis RBI groundout to second.
Two batters later, McCowan ripped a full-count offering that was snagged to the right of second base on a diving effort by Walker. The throw from her knees short-hopped the first baseman, allowing McCowan to reach base safely for Jones to score.
Person took the lead in the fifth inning on a gapper by Sullivan that scored pinch-runner Kaitlyn Wrenn from first.
The Panthers got a runner on in the bottom of the fifth, but Person third-baseman Kameryn Cunningham snagged a hot liner off the bat of Crawford to end the game.
With the split, Morehead is now 11-5 overall and 8-3 in the Mid-State, three full games behind conference leader Eastern Alamance. The Panthers are currently fifth in the latest MaxPreps 3A Adjusted Rankings, posted weekly by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
Nighthawks pull away from Rockets, 8-4
The Person softball team heads into spring break on a bit of a down note after falling to Northern Guilford, 8-4 Thursday in Greensboro.
With the loss, the Rockets slip to 8-9 overall and 7-6 in the Mid-State Conference. Person is currently fifth in the league heading into its conference finale next Thursday at home against Western Alamance.
Person took a 4-3 lead into the fourth inning, but the Nighthawks took the lead for good with two runs in the bottom of the frame and scored again in the fifth and sixth.
Kailey Mangum and Lillie Davis had three hits each, while Kameryn Cunningham finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Senior Jordan Perkins had a pair of hits, while Gabby Jones, Taylor Sullivan and Sammie Jo Adcock had one hit each.
For the game, Person outhit the Nighthawks 13-10, but committed five costly errors.