NC throws Walton for a loop


Malique Card

NC junior Soleil Smith and freshman Leah Byrd (9) added pressure to the Walton Raiders offense by not allowing anyone to score. Byrd controlled defense the whole night, leading the team to victory and securing the Lady Warriors’ spot in playoffs. Up next, the Warriors will face the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs Thursday, October 6 at home.

Malique Card, Reporter

The NC Lady Warriors (15-10) faced the Walton Raiders (9-16) in one of their last region games of the season Tuesday, October 4. The Raiders came out to NC to compete against the Lady Warriors, and the game started with vibrant energy. Coming into the match, Walton’s starting pitcher did not play due to an injured ankle. 

In the first inning, NC freshman Leah Byrd (9) started pitching. She struck Walton out, leaving the Raiders scoreless. NC junior Lauren Byrd (12) walked to first base after Walton’s pitcher threw out of the strike zone four times. NC junior Soleil Smith (20) stepped up to home plate with her hit allowing junior Byrd to run the bases back home, ending the bottom of the first with the Warriors in the lead 1-0. 

The top of the second inning commenced with freshman Byrd crushing the Raider’s batters again. During the bottom of the second inning, freshman Byrd hit the ball into middle field allowing senior Mackenzie Matthews (10) to run the bases home, putting the Warriors in the lead 2-0. 

Starting the third inning, freshman Byrd yet again struck out Walton. With Smith on third base in the bottom of the fourth, NC sophomore Rileigh Queen’s (15) hit allowed Smith to score (3-0). Senior Matthews hits the ball while Queen runs through the bases. Walton’s outfield did not catch the ball which allowed Queen to run back to home base, securing NC’s fourth point (4-0).

 “Getting an early lead sets the tone. We scored in each of the first three innings, which gave us momentum throughout the entire game. We try to mimic game situations as best as we can to ensure we are prepared as best as we can be,” head coach Michael Turchan said.

In the top of the fifth inning, Walton turned unsuccessful in scoring. During the bottom of the fifth, Matthews and Queen ran through the bases scoring another two points (6-0). 

In the top of the sixth inning, freshman Byrd successfully drove Walton off the field with no points. With junior Byrd on third base ready to run, Smith hit the ball, allowing junior Byrd to reach home plate (7-0). NC junior Emma Anderson (16) batted to the middle field, letting Smith gain another point to make the final score 8-0.

“The team was all super locked in, into practicing the whole previous week before and we were just ready to win and we knew we were in a good place but we just had to execute on the field. It meant a lot to us to beat the number one team in the region, and knowing that we skewed their record made it more of an important win for us because they were undefeated. It was a big rivalry and it was a super hyped game and it was fun to play them because that game secured our spot in the playoffs this year, Walton had put us out of the playoffs last year,” junior Byrd said. 

The Warrior’s spirit exceeded the Raiders’ after their win and planned to use this energy to take on the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs October 6 to try and reach a 16-10 record.