Andrews Strikes Out 13, Ruhl Homers as Cedar Ridge Softball Wipes Out Patriots 10-0

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Updated: May 12, 2018

The biggest question surrounding the 3A North Carolina State Softball tournament is who can hit Rivers Andrews?

Not in the traditional softball sense of opposing teams getting base hits and scoring runs off of them, but actually trying to make contact with Andrews’ pitches.

On Friday night in the second round of the 3A state playoffs, West Carteret (16-8), who rolled to the Coastal Conference Championship with a 10-0 record, had just two players put the ball in fair play.

The first, Makyiah Mitchell, came up to bat in the third inning after Andrews started the game by striking out the first ten Patriots she faced. Mitchell grounded out to Red Wolves shortstop Tionna Carter. The other was Sierra Mitchell, who was thrown out by third baseman Taylor Barnes. That was the 15th and final out.

Andrews struck out the other 13, bringing her total for the season to 190, and Cedar Ridge rolled past the Patriots 10-0 for the school’s second-ever win in the state playoffs.

“It goes back to the framework that we put in early on last year,” said Cedar Ridge Coach Allen Byrd. “It’s fundamental softball and we’ve stuck to the game plan.”

On Tuesday, Cedar Ridge will travel to face top-seeded West Brunswick in Shallotte in the 3rd round. The Trojans cruised past Wilson Fike 9-0 Friday. Last season, West Brunswick lost to Orange in a best-of-three Eastern Regional Championship series, dropping the final two games in Hillsborough.

How dominant has Andrews been?

Her five-inning perfect game on Friday night was her ninth no-hitter this season and second in as many games. In playoff wins over Southern Wayne and West Carteret, Andrews has faced 37 batters. One of them has gotten on base.

That was a walk issued with two out in the top of the seventh on Wednesday against Southern Wayne after she had retired the first 20 Saints.

Andrews has struck out 32 of 37 batters in the postseason. So how does the rest of the defense keep from getting complacent?

“That’s something we work on in practice everyday,” said Byrd. “Because there’s going to be girls that can hit her. These girls that play in travel ball see that speed. (There’s) not a lot of them. But they’re expecting the ball and we the ball comes to them, they come up with some plays.”

The Red Wolves (17-1) scored in the opening inning, then added six more in the second to put the game away in front of a packed home crowd that watched for all of 67 minutes for the final out.

In the first, Taylor Ruhl and Carter singled. Andrews grounded to 2nd baseman Kiersten Newton, who threw out Cater at second, but the relay throw to first nearly wound up in the West Carteret dugout along first base, allowing Ruhl to score.

12 Red Wolves came up to bat in the second. Kara Wagoner, Taylor Barnes and Amy Stutzer all reached on errors to start the frame. Tori Dalehite, who leads the team with 29 RBIs, stroke a single to right field. Ruhl followed with a three-run, inside-the-park home run to left to push the Cedar Ridge to 5-0 and they were just getting warmed up.

After Andrews got aboard on a fielder’s choice, courtesy runner Shili Quade scored after Wagoner lined a ball off pitcher Breann Caldwell’s glove.

The Red Wolves pushed across three more runs in the fourth. After Andrews and catcher Kymberlie Thacker each singled with one out, Quade scored off a looper to center by Emma Roby. Wagoner lined a 2-1 fastball to center, scoring Reagan Ruhl, who was running for Thacker. Roby scored the final run off a groundout by Barnes.

Of Cedar Ridge’s 17 wins, nine have come from the slaughter rule, which is outscoring teams by ten runs after five innings, or 15 runs after three.

Now Cedar Ridge will made a four-and-a-half hour bus trip to West Brunswick, just a few miles from the South Carolina line. It’s only natural that a team that’s never been to the third round of the playoffs faces an unfamiliar opponent at a place they’ve never played.

“I just told the girls in the dugout that they made a statement tonight,” said Byrd. “It doesn’t matter who we play because eventually we’re going to have to play at someone’s else place at some point. Wherever we play, we’re going to tackle it one step at a time.”

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