Lady Knights open with 14-4 win; Gargala’s hat trick lifts East Bladen


SOUTHPORT — The Lady Knights erupted for 12 fifth-inning runs to overcome a tough first inning and handed South Brunswick a 14-4 mercy-rule, non-conference loss on the softball diamond Tuesday.

In the season-opener for both teams, West Bladen allowed four runs in the bottom of the first inning — fueled by a couple of Lady Knights errors.

After three scoreless innings, West Bladen got on the board in the top of the fourth when Carley Dawson ripped a single and came around to score on an error. Moments later, Conner Brisson cracked a single and, when the ball was misplayed, another run came home to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.

The Lady Knights put it all together in the top of the fifth, scoring 12 runs to put the game away.

Kassidy Anderson got things going with a walk and a stolen base, followed by an error on a ball hit by Laikyn Pait and a walk to Dawson to fill the bags. Sophia Singletary crushed a double to plate two runs and knot the game, and Anna Moser followed with a two-run double to put West Bladen up, 6-4.

Kathryn Schultz walked and stole second, Brisson smacked a ground ball that was booted to score Schultz and Anderson walked again. Alanna Ludlum followed with a run-scoring single and Pait laced a single to score another run and load the bases — and Dawson launched a three-run double to put the Lady Knights up 12-4.

Singletary stroked a run-scoring single and, after a walk, Kyla Reed drove home the final run with a double.

Ludlum led West Bladen at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while Pait went 2-for-4. Dawson was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI.

In the circle, Singletary earned the win after giving up just one earned run on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

West Bladen will face Whiteville on the road Friday at 6 p.m.

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Soccer

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In Cerro Gordo on Tuesday, Justyna Gargala put together a hat trick to lead visiting East Bladen to a 3-1 non-conference win over West Columbus in the season-opener for both teams.

After a scoreless first half, Gargala’s first goal came early in the second half off an assist from Ashley Hardin. She scored again moments later on another assist from Hardin to give the Lady Eagles a 2-0 edge.

Gargala struck again halfway through the second half, this time getting a feed from Cassie Hill for a 3-0 advantage.

The Lady Vikings avoided the shutout with a goal just 30 seconds from the end of regulation.

Ting Lin made two saves in the nets for East Bladen, as the Lady Eagles outshot West Columbus by a 28-6 margin.

East Bladen will play host to Red Springs on Friday at 5 p.m.

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Baseball

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In St. Pauls on Tuesday, the Bulldogs plated the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning to earn a 10-9 non-conference win over visiting West Bladen.

The Knights, playing in their season-opener, saw an 8-5 lead slip away in the fifth inning and then gave away a 9-8 advantage in the sixth.

After traveling to face South Robeson on Wednesday, the Knights will host St. Pauls in a rematch on Friday at 7 p.m.

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