Lady Eagles soaring into future

Published | May 2, 2024

Valdese—Seven Heritage Middle softball players played their last game in a Foothills Athletic Conference tournament championship showdown Tuesday at home against West McDowell.

The visiting Lady Spartans won 7-6, and both squads shared the regular-season championship. HMS was also a championship contender last season.

The future of the seven departing Lady Eagles is still bright as they soon transition into athletic careers at Draughn HS, including contributing to the growing success of the softball team contending for a second consecutive Western Highlands Conference championship.

“They’ll be able to help them out in any way they can contribute; it’s been a lot of fun (with them), and for us to be the third team (in school history) to win the conference is a huge accomplishment,” said Lady Eagles softball coach Doug Webb.

Mackenzie Powell was solid in the pitcher’s circle, leading a defensive effort that allowed no runs for three innings and striking out five batters. She also recorded two hits at the plate, including a fifth-inning triple and scoring a run off a wild pitch.

Shortstop Bailey Winkler (run) and left fielder Rylie Hensley (2 RBI, run) were two other eighth graders to record two hits with Hensley’s second-inning sacrifice bunt, which resulted in a throwing error to first base, bringing home two Lady Eagles runs scored by seventh graders Ansley Compton and Emmalin Clark.

Third baseman Maddy Hudson was another key eighth-grade batter in Tuesday’s contest, recording a seventh-inning 2-RBI triple, scoring Winkler and Powell in a final rally.

Other leading eighth graders include catcher Reagan Webb, right fielder Savannah Shell, and second baseman Maci Ryan (walk).

“They never quit and give up, and they are a great group of girls to coach.”

2024 HMS Lady Eagles Softball

#00 Zula Arnett

#3 Emmalin Clark

#4 Ansley Compton

#5 Bailey Winkler

#7 Kendalyn Eckard

#9 Dylan Boykin

#11 Ambria Baker

#12 Mackenzie Powell

#14 Marleigh Gidney

#17 Reagan Webb

#18 Maci Ryan

#24 Rylie Hensley

#25 Savannah Shell

#27 Maddy Hudson

#44 Olivia Miller

Coaches: Doug Webb, Katherine Whitsett

Photo: Cooke Photography

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