RALEIGH — A pair of West Bladen rising seniors and their softball coach will open the 2016 Powerade State Games High-School Softball Tournament on Tuesday at Middle Creek Park in Raleigh.
Catcher Alanna Ludlum and first-baseman Laikyn Part are members of the East Region 4 team, which is being coached by Olivia Scott of Whiteville and assisted by Jimmy Williams of Whiteville and Joey Autry of West Bladen.
The team also has several other players from the area on the roster, including Raeganne Sholar and laura Thompson of Whiteville, JaiLeana Deese of Purnell Swett, Taylor Turbeville of South Columbus, Desaree Dunham and Harmony Oxendine of South Robeson, and Morgan Britt of Lumberton.
Region 4 includes Bladen, Robeson, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Richmond, Harnett, Lee, Moore and Montgomery counties.
As juniors, Ludlum and Pait led the Lady Knights to a 15-9 overall record and 11-3 in the Four County Conference. West Bladen beat Franklinton in the first round of the state’s Class 2-A playoffs, 3-1, but lost to North Johnston in the second round, 6-3.
At the plate, Ludlum batted .395 with eight doubles, two triples, 24 RBI and 30 runs scored. She also threw out 11 of 28 base-stealers from behind the plate.
Pait batted .430 for West Bladen with eight doubles, a triple, two home runs, 32 RBI and scored 29 runs. She had a .972 fielding percentage at first base with only five errors all season.
Autry, who was in his first year coaching the Lady Knights’ varsity, had no seniors on the team and West Bladen is expected to be one of the Four County Conference’s favorites in 2017.
Region 4 will open the round-robin competition at 9 a.m. Tuesday against East Region 2, then play again at 1:40 p.m;. against East Region 1.
On Wednesday, Region 4 will face East Region 3 at 11:10 a.m.
The tournament’s medal games will take place Wednesday at N.C. State University when the No. 3 team from the East Division will face the No. 3 team from the West Division at 5:15 p.m. for the bronze medal; the gold-medal game will take place at N.C. State between the No. 1 teams from each division starting at 7:30 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.