Four Henderson/Vance all-star teams headed to state tourney

Jun. 29, 2013 @ 09:28 PM

Four Henderson/Vance softball all-star teams claimed district championships Saturday at Aycock Recreation Center.

The Henderson/Vance 16-and-under, 14-and-under, 12-and-under, and 8-and-under teams each clinched berths in the Eastern N.C. State Tournament in Washington.

Henderson/Vance’s 16-and-unders won by forfeit against South Granville while the 14-and-unders defeated South Granville by a run. The Henderson/Vance 12-and-unders defeated Warren County 13-2 and the 8-and-unders knocked off South Granville in four innings. Henderson/Vance’s 10-and-under team lost out to South Granville, 6-3, in the championship match.

The Henderson/Vance 14-15-year-old baseball all-stars lost 7-5 to host team Holly Springs Saturday in district play and face Holly Springs again today at 9 a.m. Holly Springs also lost 11-8 to Warren County Saturday. Friday’s play was rained out.

The Henderson/Vance 16-and-under softball team advanced after South Granville’s forfeit Saturday. Henderson/Vance won 4-3 over South Granville Friday night.

In 14-and-under action, Mike Thomas’ Henderson/Vance team rallied Saturday from behind to take down South Granville 11-10.

“We’ve improved a lot,” said Thomas. “Great team, great set of girls. A lot of effort went into it. It’s been hard, but we got there.”

Henderson/Vance trailed 10-7 entering the top of the seventh inning before striking for four runs in the frame.

Thomas credited center fielder Taylor Thompson with strong play defensively.

“Everything hit out there, she was the defensive player for today,” said Thomas. “She really caught everything out there.”

Thomas, in his first summer coaching the 14-and-unders, said the goal for the team in Washington is to do its best.

“That’s all we can do,” said Thomas. “There’s a lot of tough teams down there from what I’ve heard.”

The 14-and-unders started Saturday with a 3-2 win over South Granville.

The Henderson/Vance 8-and-unders rolled over South Granville 27-6 in four innings Saturday to win the district title.

“They’re solid all the way around,” Henderson/Vance coach Jeff Strickland said of his team. “Good hitters, good defense. We’re solid from first to 14.”

“Our girls just hit the ball good,” added Strickland. “I’m not going to take anything away from the other girls. Our girls just hit the ball good.”

Strickland is in his first season coaching softball. He said it’s an honor to represent Henderson/Vance in the state tourney.

“Go down there and win it,” said Strickland. “That’s what my goal is.”

State tourney play is slated to begin Tuesday, July 9 with opening ceremonies scheduled for Monday, July 8.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.