CVCC softball sweeps opener; Hinnant tosses one-hitter

CVCC softball sweeps opener; Hinnant tosses one-hitter

HICKORY, N.C. — The Catawba Valley Community College softball program kicked off its second season in winning fashion on Friday with a twin-bill sweep of Patrick Henry and Surry community colleges during the first day of the inaugural Catawba Valley Clash at Kiwanis Field.

With the victories, the Red Hawks improve to 2-0 on the season.

Game one: CVCC 4, Patrick Henry 3 (eight innings)

A sacrifice fly to center field by shortstop Grace Andrews in the eighth inning was the difference maker in an extra-innings victory for the Red Hawks against the Patriots.

CVCC and Patrick Henry remained deadlocked through most of Friday's opening contest.

The Patriots took an early one-run lead in the first inning behind an RBI single from Dori Hicks, but the Red Hawks quickly answered with an RBI single of their own from third baseman Alleigh Himes in the bottom half of the first.

Both teams went scoreless in the second inning, but Patrick Henry regained the advantage in the third inning on another RBI single — this time from Jaden Hurdle. Once again, though, CVCC answered off the bat of Himes, who doubled to bring home pitcher Payton Goble and tie the game at 2-2 after three complete.

Goble's RBI double in the fourth inning scored Parsons, giving the Red Hawks a 3-2 advantage and putting them in control of the contest for the first time.

However, the Patriots used a sac fly by Elizabeth Corcoran in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3, eventually sending the contest into extras.

Due to the event format, each team started the game with a runner on second base. Patrick Henry was able to get runners on second and third base with no outs in the top of the eighth, but CVCC relief pitcher Cali Hinnant was able to force three-straight outs to get out of the jam.

With center fielder Lillie Pennington representing the go-ahead run on second base in the bottom of the eighth inning, Hinnant's bunt single put runners at the corners, setting up Andrews' sac fly in center field that scored Pennington for the game-winning run.

This is the second-straight season that the Red Hawks have opened their season with a walk-off win in extra innings.

Game two: CVCC 8, Surry 0

Freshman pitcher Cali Hinnant electrified on the mound in her first-ever start, tossing a one-hitter with school-record 12 strikeouts in a complete game shutout for the Red Hawks.

Center fielder Lillie Pennington helped give Hinnant and Catawba Valley an early lead with a two-run home run to right field in the bottom of the first inning.

CVCC proceeded to score in all, but one inning of the contest — plating one run in each of the second, fourth and fifth innings and two runs in the sixth inning.

Retiring 14 of the first 16 batters she faced, Hinnant surrendered her lone hit during the fifth inning — a single by Courtney Mulliins. However, Hinnant remained unshaken, retiring the final seven batters of the game — five of those on striekouts, including all three in the seventh inning. All, but two of Hinnant's strikeouts were swinging.

Offensively, designated player Payton Goble added a pair of RBI hits in the game for CVCC, while right fielder Laynie Hudgins added two hits and an RBI.

The Red Hawks complete action at the Clash on Saturday with a second pair of games at Kiwanis Field in Hickory. CVCC plays the Montreat JV team at noon followed by a 4 p.m. contest against Cleveland Community College.