Lady Cats softball opens ’24 season with two home wins

Published | Mar 1, 2024

Valdese- Despite losing three vital elements to graduation of their first conference championship team, the Draughn softball team starts off the 2024 season under the reign of new head coach Chris Powell with two wins over county rivals Freedom (14-4) and Patton (4-3).

“Our goal is to be 1 and 0 each time we go out and not worry about what is ahead,” said Powell. “We were getting 13 to 14 hits (vs. Freedom), but our hits came a bit less (vs. Patton), and our pitching did good work together with Lindsey Hensley doing a good job behind the plate.”

Ava Aldridge (4 RBI) and Lindsey Hensley (3 runs) started the season with a home run against the Lady Patriots.

Cydnee Deal had a 3/3 performance at the plate vs Freedom with two RBIs and two runs with Maddie Crouch (2 runs, 3 stolen bases), Laney Winebarger (2 RBI), Braylen Clontz (2 runs), Katie Hamm (RBI, 2 runs), Karlie Micol (RBI, run), and Avie Helton (RBI) all leading in the Lady Wildcats batting order.

Deal, Aldridge, Hensley, and Crouch came through for Draughn in the fifth inning vs Patton to break from a 1-1 tie with the Lady Panthers.

Deal led off with a single and advanced to third base off Aldrige’s double with a hit by Hensley bringing Deal to home plate, but Aldridge got caught for the out at third base.

Crouch followed with a home run to center to bring Raygen McDaniel, Hensley’s courtesy runner, across home plate.

Patton came back to score two runs in the seventh inning, but Crouch and Co kept the visitors from scoring the tying run.

Crouch scored the first run off a first-inning groundout by Clontz for the Lady Wildcats, extending a home-winning streak to 16 games dating back to 2022.

Helton, Deal, and Clontz were key defensive contributors, with Winebarger and Hamm holding their own in the pitcher’s circle.

The Lady Wildcats continue their season Saturday vs. East Rowan as part of South Caldwell’s Spartan Classic.

Draughn Softball Home Winning Streak

4/11/22 Owen 7-5

4/26/22 Rosman 6-1

4/27/22 Madison 8-7

3/9/23 Hibriten 11-10

3/14/23 Owen 8-3

3/15/23 McDowell 3-2

3/24/23 Madison 6-4

3/30/23 Thomas Jefferson 15-0

3/31/23 Avery County 13-1

4/6/23 Mitchell 7-1

4/18/23 Rosman 8-5

4/24/23 Lincolnton 16-8

5/5/23 Mountain Heritage 8-6

5/9/23 Gray Stone Day 6-2

2/27/24 Freedom 14-4

2/29/24 Patton 4-3

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