Hitting a Walk Off: Girls softball secures regular season conference championship


Sophia Murphy

Titans celebrate their championship win

Matthew Lee, Sports writer

From start to finish, only one word can truly capture the results of this year’s softball season: dominance. With just two losses during the regular season, including a regular season finale victory over East Forsyth in a 3-2 nine-inning walk-off thriller, the girls clinched a share of the regular season conference championship. This win, however, was nothing short of the expectations that head coach Kevin Baity set in the beginning.
“While winning the regular season championship was great, it was just one of our goals. I feel it gave us the confidence to see that we can compete with the stronger teams in the conference,” Baity said.
The girls were led by seniors Abby Hunter, who was exceptional both at the plate and in the field, and Cate Etchason, the team’s ace on the mound. On the offensive side, Hunter, who is committed to Tusculum University to continue playing softball at the collegiate level, led the Titans to being second in runs scored in the conference.
“My favorite moment of the season was my two-run home run to help beat East to become regular season champions. It was a great win on Senior Night,” Hunter said.
The Etchason-led pitching staff kept opponents from scoring throughout the season, as the Titans were first in the conference in runs allowed, including seven shutouts. This dominance allowed for the team to build confidence as they won the conference for the first time since 2019.
“Winning the regular season championship was so much fun, especially since we were fourth last year and lost good seniors. It gave us the confidence and energy that we could then carry over to other games as the season progressed,” Etchason said.
While the team was filled with veteran leaders, the top two contact hitters on the team were newcomers in sophomores Sydney Horton and Kaylyn Riddle. Although it was their first season on the varsity team, both Horton and Riddle led the team in batting average. By producing at the plate, the girls scored in every game and topped 10 runs in half of their games.
“Against Starmount early in the season, we were down 4-1, but came back by scoring eight runs in the top of the 5th and eventually won 15-4. This showed we were capable of anything with determination and teamwork,” Riddle said.
The team finished with a 20-4 record, falling in two heartbreaking defeats in the conference tournament to Davie 4-3 and in the first round of state playoffs to Weddington 2-1. While the defeats may have brought a sour end to a great season, the team is still holding their heads high.
“We just need to work on weaknesses during the offseason and improve for next season. Our goals are the same as this year; work hard, have fun and win championships,” Baity said.
Although the season has wrapped up and the team will look towards more success in the coming years, the dominance the team displayed throughout the season will forever be remembered with the championship that these Titans can claim forever.