ALBEMARLE — Two years ago, the West Stanly softball team came away with the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 2A championship. After a 2020 postseason that was skipped due to a shortened season, the Colts are champions once again.
Eighth-seeded West Stanly (20-0) defeated the second-seeded South Granville Vikings (14-2, 10-0 Northern Carolina Conference) in back-to-back games of a best-of-three championship series over the weekend, marking the fourth title for the school’s softball program (1997, 2013, 2019, 2021).
The Colts won by a score of 3-1 Friday night and took home the state title with a 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon.
West Stanly’s only hit of the championship-winning game — a home run by senior Shelby Barbee in the fourth inning — was enough to push the Colts over the Vikings, who managed two hits but went scoreless thanks to the efforts of pitcher Jordan Hatch.
The Colts senior and East Carolina commit was named series MVP, allowing only two hits while registering 24 combined strikeouts in her pair of appearances. Hatch squared off against South Granville’s own senior pitching ace, Charlotte commit Brooke Bowling.
The Colts’ journey to the state finals included a 10-0 win over ninth-ranked West Stokes (12-2, 12-0 Western Piedmont Conference), a 9-1 win over top-ranked Hibriten (15-1, 14-0 Northwestern Foothills Conference), an 11-5 win over fourth-ranked West Wilkes (16-1, 14-0 Mountain Valley Conference) and a 2-0 win against second-ranked East Lincoln (16-2, 13-1 South Fork Conference).
In what could be remembered as the West Stanly softball team’s most dominant season in school history, the Colts scored 188 runs while allowing just 19; as a unit, the Colts batted .387 with 30 home runs and a 1.04 ERA.
While one softball team from Stanly County claimed the state championship, another fell one win short of doing the same.
With an 11-5 win, the top-ranked South Stanly Rowdy Rebel Bulls (16-4, 8-0 Yadkin Valley Conference) were victorious over the fifth-ranked Camden County Bruins (15-1, 6-0 Albemarle Conference) in Game 1 of the 1A state championship best-of-three series.
The Bulls, however, fell short in both of Saturday’s doubleheader matchups — the Bruins took Game 2 by a score of 7-2 and Game 3 by a score of 3-2.
South Stanly’s two losses over the weekend snapped a seven-game winning streak going into what was the Bulls’ third state championship appearance. The team’s offense gradually cooled off as the series went on, with 17 hits on Friday but only 12 total Saturday’s double-header.
The Bulls’ road to the state finals included a 13-0 win over 13th-ranked Cherryville (7-7, 5-2 Southern Piedmont Conference), a 12-0 win over eighth-ranked Chatham Central (11-3, 7-1 Yadkin Valley Conference), a 2-1 win over fourth-ranked Alleghany (11-6, 9-5 Mountain Valley Conference) and a 16-6 win over third-ranked Mountain Island Charter (15-1, 12-0 PAC 7 Conference).