Orange Softball

Alumni Update: Davidson returns to North Carolina with Athletes Unlimited; fall sports preview

Mia Davidson-Smith: For the first time since turning professional in 2022, Davidson-Smith returned to North Carolina with Athletes Unlimited. It was also the first time that Davidson-Smith was the Captain of her own team, a spot reserved for one of the top four point-getters in Athletes Unlimited. In a three-game series last week, Team Davidson went 2-1. Davidson-Smith played her first game in North Carolina since 2018 at ECU Softball Stadium in Greenville last Wednesday. Team Davidson edged Team Romero 4-3. Davidson-Smith, starting at catcher, went 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch. Davidson-Smith finished the game with 98 individual points. On Saturday, Team Alexander shutout Team Davidson 4-0 at Parkway Bank Stadium in Rosemont, IL. Davidson-Smith went 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch. She finished with eight points. On Sunday, Team Davidson defeated Team Faraimo 3-1. Davidson-Smith went 0-for-3 with a walk. Davidson had 108 points on the day. Despite going hitless for the weekend, Davidson-Smith is still in fourth place among 60 players in Athletes Unlimited with 1,052 points. She’s the highest-ranked catcher in Athletes Unlimited. Once again, she will serve as a Captain on her own team this weekend. On Friday night, Team Davidson will face Team Alexander.

Bryse Wilson: The Milwaukee Brewers rallied in the ninth inning last week to defeat the Colorado Rockies 7-6 in ten innings at Miller Park. Wilson earned the win to improve to 4-0. In one inning of work, Wilson surrendered one unearned run off one hit. On Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Brewers 6-2 at Dodger Stadium. Wilson threw two-and-one-thirds innings of shutout baseball. He surrendered two hits and struck out two. Wilson currently has a 3.30 ERA. The Brewers are in first place in the National League Central with a 65-56 record. They lead the Cincinnati Reds by two-and-a-half games at the end of Wednesday night’s action.

Payton Wilson: The senior N.C. State linebacker was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list this week. The Bednarik Award is presented to the top defensive player in college football. Last week, Wilson was named to the Dick Butkus Preseason Watch List. The Butkus Award honors the nation’s best linebacker.

Trenton Gill: The Chicago Bears played its first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Solider Field last weekend. The Bears won the game 23-17. Gill handled all of the punting duties, which says all you need to know about his job security. Of his four punts, Gill had an average of 50-yards per boot. One was downed inside the 20-yard line.

The fall sports season is set to begin in less than two weeks. The amount of former Orange and Cedar Ridge High School athletes playing sports in college has likely never been more voluminous. Here’s the list of athletes who will be suiting up for professional and college sports team this fall.


Trenton Gill–punter for the Chicago Bears

Payton Wilson–redshirt senior linebacker at N.C. State

Darius Satterfield–sophomore punter at Elizabeth City State University

Braxton Mergenthal–senior defensive lineman for Hampden-Sydney


Lottie Scully–Sophomore setter for the Binghamton Bearcats. Last season, Scully was third in the American East Conference with 788 assists. She had a season-high 64 assists in a 5-set victory over UMBC, which ended UMBC’s 23-match conference winning streak.

Avery Miller: Sophomore at Pitt Community College

Cameron Lloyd: Freshman at Bucknell University. Lloyd is the all-time kills leader in Cedar Ridge history.

Grace Young: Freshman at UNC Asheville. Young was the libero in 2021, 2022 and 2023 for Cedar Ridge, all conference championship teams.

Cameron Lanier: Freshman at Elon. Only the second Cedar Ridge player in history with 500 kills.

Julie Altieri: Freshman at Salisbury University in Maryland. Altieri is the all-time assist leader in Cedar Ridge history.

Melissa Benkowitz: Freshman at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.

Anaya Carter: Freshman at UNC Pembroke.

Allie Wilkerson: Freshman at Averett University.

Women’s Tennis: 

Jera Hargrove: Sophomore at Tuskegee University

Women’s Soccer: 

Ivy Garner: Sophomore at Liberty University. Garner played at Cedar Ridge her freshman year before she transferred to Eno River Academy. Garner started regularly as a freshman and helped the Flames win the Atlantic Sun regular season championship. This season, they will play in Conference USA.

Emerson Talley: Junior at Lenoir-Rhyne University. The all-time leading goal scorer in Cedar Ridge history.

Sydney Rogers: Freshman at Catawba College. The first female to score a point for the Orange football team. Also a member of the first Orange women’s tennis team to win a conference championship.



Alumni Update: Berini wins 3rd AAC Championship with ECU Baseball

Joey Berini: The #15 East Carolina baseball team has won its third consecutive American Athletic Conference regular season championship. Over the weekend, the Pirates swept South Florida at USF Baseball Stadium in Tampa. On Saturday, the Pirates won 7-1. Berini, who started all three games at shortstop, went 0-for-2 with an RBI groundout on Saturday. In Friday’s 6-5 win for the Pirates, Berini went 1-for-4. On Thursday, East Carolina won 8-3. Berini went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. He had a two-run single in the third inning to even the game 3-3. ECU will be the #1 seed for this week’s AAC Tournament at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, FL. They will start play on Tuesday. ECU is 41-15 and sit atop the AAC with an 18-6 record.

Bryse Wilson: On Saturday, Wilson threw three innings of relief for the Milwaukee Brewers agains the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Wilson allowed only two hits and no runs. He had one strikeout. Tampa won 8-4. On May 15, Wilson threw one-and-two-thirds innings of relief as the Brewers were pounded by St. Louis 18-1 at Busch Stadium. Wilson gave up two runs off three hits with two strikeouts. Milwaukee is currently in first place in the National League Central with a 25-21 record. Wilson has a 2.92 ERA with two saves and 24 strikeouts.

Dante DeFranco: The Charlotte 49ers baseball team will be the #3 seed in this week’s Conference USA Baseball Tournament in Houston. The 49ers are on a five-game winning streak after sweeping Middle Tennessee at Hayes Stadium over the weekend. DeFranco started at second base in the 49ers 14-5 win over the Blue Raiders on Friday. He did not have an at-bat. On Thursday, the 49ers defeated Middle Tennessee 3-2. DeFranco went 2-for-4, starting at second base. On Tuesday, Charlotte upset #9 South Carolina 11-9 at Founders Park in Columbia, SC. DeFracno started at second base and went 1-for-5 with a double. He scored off a two-run homer by Blake Jackson in the second inning. Charlotte will face Louisiana Tech, the defending CUSA champions, on Tuesday.

Phillip Berger: The Division III William Peace baseball team ended its season in the USA South Tournament championship series on May 13. North Carolina Wesleyan defeated the Pacers 8-4 in Rocky Mount. On May 12, the Battling Bishops defeated Peace 9-2 in game one of the best-of-three series. Berger started on May 12 for Peace. He suffered the loss, sending his record to 4-5. Berger threw six innings and allowed seven runs off six hits. Only three of the runs were earned. He had three strikeouts and two walks. Peace ends the season 25-21. Berger, a junior, went 4-5 with a. 3.69 ERA this year. He led the team with 76 strikeouts with 26 walks. Peace’s 25 wins this season are a school record.

Jamar Davis: At the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the Paul Derr Track Facility in Raleigh on May 11-13, Davis finished fourth in the triple jump. His best leap was 15.45 meters. Owayne Owens of Virginia won the conference championship at 16.61 meters. Davis finished eighth in the long jump with a leap of 7.26 meters. Jeremiah Davis of Florida State won the ACC Championship at 7.94 meters. Davis will participate in the NCAA East Regionals this week in Jacksonville, FL.

Jaylin Jones: The Pfeiffer men’s lacrosse team had its season come to an end in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Centre College defeated the Falcons 11-9 in Danville, KY. In his final game with the Falcons, Jones had one shot, four ground balls and one turnover created. Jones, who is a graduate student with Pfeiffer, ends the season with 17 games played. He started one. Jones had one game-winning goal. He finished with four goals, two assists and 37 ground balls. Pfieffer went 17-2 this season.

Joe Kiger: On Saturday night, Kiger started the season by winning the MOD 4 feature event at Orange County Speedway just outside of Caldwell. Kiger, running in the Racing Electronics car, won with several of his friends from Orange High and Cedar Ridge High watching on. Kiser played football at Orange.

Orange Panther of the Week: Carson Bradsher

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is senior softball shortstop Carson Bradsher. This season, Bradsher was the leading hitter for the Orange softball team with a .596 batting average. On May 2, Bradsher went 3-for-4 with two RBIs as the Lady Panthers defeated Eastern Alamance, the defending 3A State Champions, 9-4 on May 2. The first time Carson was interviewed for, it was in November 2019 when she attended a college signing ceremony for Jaden Hurdle inside the Orange Media Center. She said, aside from her family, the thing she was most thankful for was softball. Three years later, Bradsher had her own signing ceremony inside the media center for USC-Upstate in the Big South Conference. In her Orange high career, Bradsher won a Big 8 Conference championship in 2021. She was a member of an Orange team that finished undefeated in the regular season. For her career, Bradsher had a .612 batting average in 38 career games. She had 85 hits and 45 career stolen bases. After missing most of her junior season with an injury, Bradsher had base hits in 18 of Orange’s 19 games this season. Her Orange career ended on Tuesday night in a loss to West Carteret in the opening round of the 3A State Playoffs. The daughter of Wayne and Shannon Bradsher, Carson served as a mentor to younger players like Katie Carden this season. Her base running and slap hitting ability at Orange will be missed as she stakes her considerable talents to Spartanburg, SC.

Orange Panther of the Week: Carson Bradsher

This week’s Orange Panther of the Week is senior softball shortstop Carson Bradsher. This season, Bradsher was the leading hitter for the Orange softball team with a .596 batting average. On May 2, Bradsher went 3-for-4 with two RBIs as the Lady Panthers defeated Eastern Alamance, the defending 3A State Champions, 9-4 on May 2.

Rain forces CCC Softball Tournament to four teams; Orange, Cedar Ridge end regular season at home tonight

The pandemic year of 2021 was infamous for schedule changes. Games would be canceled in less than 24 hours notice, and others would be rescheduled on a whim for later that day.

Once the pandemic ended, some local coaches thought the days of slapdash scheduling were over. Unfortunately, that hasn’t exactly been the case this year.

Hardly a week has gone by this season without a softball game being rescheduled, canceled or moved because of either:

A: rain


B: the unavailability of umpires.

The Central Carolina Conference regular season was supposed to end last Friday with all seven teams playing 12 league games. But there was more rain Thursday and Friday. Thus Orange’s game against Eastern Alamance, which has ramifications for seeding in the state playoffs, was delayed until tonight (Tuesday).

Which led to another problem.

The Central Carolina Conference Tournament was supposed to start Monday night, but it has been in flux since last month. Walter Williams abandoned its season in early April after starting the year 0-12.

Pressed with two regular season games that haven’t been completed, the athletic directors in the CCC voted last Friday to reduce the CCC Tournament to four teams. The tournament will begin on Wednesday when the regular season is completed tonight.

In addition to Eastern Alamance at Orange, Cedar Ridge’s game against Person will be played at Red Wolves Stadium tonight at 6 PM.

On Wednesday night, the four-team tournament will start with Western Alamance hosting Person in Elon. Orange will travel to Eastern Alamance. The championship game will be held on Thursday night.

The streamlined tournament will deprive local fans of another crosstown matchup. Cedar Ridge and Orange appeared set to meet in the opening round. Instead, the Red Wolves regular season will end after its game against Person. Cedar Ridge, coming off a win over Northwood, is currently #25 in the 3A East RPI rankings. That would put them comfortably in the 3A State Playoffs, though they will almost certainly travel to face conference champion in the opening round.

Tonight’s Orange-Eastern Alamance game has plenty riding on it. While Western Alamance is already in the clubhouse as the CCC Champions with a 12-0 league mark, Eastern Alamance is in second place in the CCC with an 8-2 league record. Orange is 7-3. The Lady Panthers lost its first matchup to the Eagles 10-3 in Mebane on April 4.

Since then, Orange has gone 5-1. Currently, Orange is #10 in the RPI rankings while Eastern Alamance is #11. For teams that aren’t conference champions, one notch in the rankings can make the difference between staying at home for the opening round of the state playoffs and hitting the road.

Orange can still tie for second place with a win over the Eagles tonight.

The Lady Panthers’ five-game winning streak ended last week with a 6-1 loss to West Forsyth in Clemmons. Senior Carson Bradsher drove in the only run of the game with a single to score Serenity McPherson. Bradsher and McPherson each had multi-hit games.

Cedar Ridge (10-9) will play its final home game of the season tonight. It will be the final home game for Anaya Carter, Hayley King, Grace Young, Caira Peach, and Tori Carden, Carter and Young won a state championship together for the Cedar Ridge volleyball team in 2021. They will each play volleyball in college. Y0ung will play at UNC Asheville. Carter will play at UNC Pembroke.


Orange’s Carson Bradasher, Serenity McPherson & Katie Carden discuss big week for softball

The Orange softball team completed a huge week on Friday night with a win over Northwood in Pittsboro. For the second consecutive game, senior centerfielder Serenity McPherson hit a home run. This time, it was a leadoff homer in the first inning as Orange pounded Northwood 22-2 in five innings at Chargers Softball Field. McPherson finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Senior Cason Bradsher finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Sadie Cecil went 4-for-5 with three doubles and five RBIs. Freshman Katie Carden finished 1-for-4 with three runs scored. On Wednesday, the Lady Panthers rolled past Northern Durham 12-1 in five innings at Knights Softball Field. McPherson finished 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. Bradsher went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Carden went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Orange will go into the final week of the regular season 12-4, 8-3 in the Central Carolina Conference counting two forfeits by Walter Williams, who abandoned its season earlier this month. The Lady Panthers will face West Forsyth in Clemmons on Tuesday. They will host Eastern Alamance on Friday night at 6PM in their final home game of the regular season. Orange is one game behind Eastern Alamance for first place.

Orange’s Carson Bradsher, Serenity McPherson & Katie Carden discuss big week for softball

The Orange softball team completed a huge week on Friday night with a win over Northwood in Pittsboro. For the second consecutive game, senior centerfielder Serenity McPherson hit a home run. This time, it was a leadoff homer in the first inning as Orange pounded Northwood 22-2 in five innings at Chargers Softball Field.

Softball notebook: Robinson homers, Carden goes 3-3 as Orange sweeps Person; Eastern Alamance tops Cedar Ridge

The Orange-Person softball rivalry is sort of a family affair.

Some of the Orange players are raised in northern Orange County, roughly 10-15 minutes from Roxboro. A few live within a closer driving distance from Person High than their own high school.

When Person  and Orange meet, there are close friends that play against one another. Carson Bradsher, an Orange shortstop who is finishing her fourth year at the varsity level, has a younger sister that plays at Roxboro Community School’s middle school team.

None of that mattered by the end on Tuesday night when Orange wrestled bragging rights away from the Rockets, at least for the rest of this regular season.

Just as she did last month, Orange pitcher Caden Robinson provided the exclamation point against the Rockets. She slammed a two-run homer in the sixth inning to break open a tie game. Robinson also earned the win in the circle as the Lady Panthers defeated the Rockets 5-2 to compete a season-sweep of Person.

On March 24, Robinson’s smashed a solo homer in the sixth inning of a 4-2 Orange win in Roxboro.

Robinson struck out eight and allowed only five hits in a complete game.

Orange (8-4, 5-3) is now in third place in the CCC, leading Person by a game. They also control the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Rockets.

Orange freshman third baseman Katie Carden went 3-for-3 and started the second inning with a double that hugged the line down the left field line. After the subsequent two batters were retired, Carden generated her own offense with Kelsey Tackett at bat. Carden  took off for third base, and the throw from Allie Carden went over the head of the third baseman, allowing Katie to slide in safely for the opening run.

Robinson kept the Person bats quiet in the middle innings. All that the Rockets could muster was a harmless bunt single by Lindsey Melton that started foul and rolled fair. Robinson retired Liberty Jones and Delaney Glover to end the inning.

Orange increased its lead in the fourth. Bradsher, after teasing a bunt, slapped a low line drive to right field that rolled all the way to the fence for a triple. Robinson’s knocked in Bradsher with a groundout to second baseman Camryn Clarke to make it a 2-0 Panther lead.

Person never goes away quietly and it was no different on Tuesday night. Melton reached on a leadoff single to let field. Liberty Jones laid down a bunt and reached on a throwing error, allowing Melton to reach third. Glover was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Taryn Massey had a pop-up to Orange second baseman Delaney Shaffer in shallow right field, which allowed Melton to score on a sacrifice fly. Allie Carden went a fly ball to Bryce Jones in left field, which gave Jones a chance to tag up and even the game on another sacrifice fly. Robinson struck out Kenzley Horne to end the inning.

With the game tied 2-2 and one out in the bottom of the sixth, Bradsher sent a classic slap hit to Massey at shortstop, who kicked up dust to make a diving stab but had no chance to throw Bradsher out. Robinson followed with the two-run homer that came after she fouled off  a pair of potential third strikes. The dinger concluded an eight-pitch at-bat.

Glover was inserted in as the Person pitcher, but Katie Carden immediately poked a single that landed in front of a rushing Jones in right centerfield. With two out, Savannah Wynne came in as a pinch-hitter. After Carden advanced to second on a passed ball, Wynn belted a line drive to the gap in right field for a stand-up double to score Carden.

Orange will travel to Northern Durham tonight, then travel to Northwood on Friday.

Eastern Alamance 19, Cedar Ridge 4: 

The Eagles improved to 6-1 in CCC action after beating the Red Wolves in Hillsborough. Eastern Alamance, the defending 3A State Champions, remain one game behind Western Alamance for first place.

Senior Grace Young knocked in the first Cedar Ridge run, scoring Kimber Shambley, who drew a walk earlier in the inning.

In the bottom of the third inning, Mia Best hit a leadoff single to right field. Reagan Simmons reached on an infield single to score Best. Charlotte Lowry doubled to centerfield. Alice Ann Kohler, running for Lowry, scored off a wild pitch.

The Red Wolves were actually only down 6-4 at the end of the fourth inning. Best sent a triple to the right field corner to score young, who drew a one-out walk.

With Walter Williams forfeiting the remainder of its season, it appears this will be the final home game of the season for Cedar Ridge unless some non conference opportunities arise in the final weeks of the year.

Softball Alumni Update: Davidson-Smith to play for USA Softball in Ireland this summer

Mia Davidson-Smith: Before she returns to action in Athletes Unlimited, Davidson will return to action for USA Softball in the World Baseball Softball Confederation World Cup in Ireland this summer. Davidson will suit up for the Americans starting July 11-15. Davidson played for Team USA in the Pan American Championship. The U.S. won gold. Davidson hit .412 over nine games with three home runs, 13 RBIs. She was walked ten times. The United States will be in Group A with Ireland, Australia, Great Britain and teams to be determined from Africa and Asia. Since she finished her playing days at Mississippi State, Davidson-Smith is currently serving as a graduate student coach with the Bulldogs as she works towards her Master’s Degree. Davidson is the all-time home run hitter in Southeastern Conference history.

Lauren Jackson: The Division II Lenoir-Rhyne softball team swept a doubleheader over Lincoln Memorial Dorothy Neely Field in Harrogate, TN on Monday. In the Bears’ 11-8 victory in the nightcap, Lenior-Rhyne rallied from a 8-5 deficit by scoring six runs in the seventh inning. Jackson 0-for-2 with a walk. In the opener, the Bears won 16-1 in five innings. Jackson went 2-for-4 with RBI single. On Saturday, Lenoir-Rhyne split a doubleheader with Newberry in South Carolina. The Bears won the opener 10-8. Jackson went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI single in the third inning. She also scored a run. In the nightcap, Newberry won 5-4 in eight innings. Jackson went 0-for-3. Through 35 games, Jackson is hitting .337 with with 17 RBIs.

Ava Lowry: Lowry was named the USA South Conference Rookie of the Week. It came after Division III North Carolina Wesleyan swept doubleheaders against Methodist and Southern Virginia last week in Rocky Mount. Last Tuesday, the Battling Bishops won the first game against Methodist 5-3. Lowry went 1-for-3. Wesleyan won the second game 7-0. Lowry went 2-for-4 with a double. On Thursday, Wesleyan defeated Southern Virginia 6-5 scoring five runs in the seventh inning. Lowry triggered the seventh-inning rally with a leadoff single. She eventually scored on a single by Lillie Baumbach. Lowry finished the game 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored. In the second game, Wesleyan won 7-4. Lowry, starting at shortstop, went 1-for-2 with a double. Through 34 games, Lowry is hitting .333 with six doubles and 13 RBIs. Wesleyan is 23-10 overall, 8-4 in the USA South Conference.

Grace Andrews: The Catawba Valley Community College softball team has won 16 games in a row. Over the weekend, the Red Hawks swept a doubleheader from Southeastern Community College in Whiteville. Catawba Valley won the opening game 8-0 in five innings. Andrews started at catcher and went 0-for-1 with a sacrifice bunt. In the second game, Catawba Valley won 9-0 in five innings. Andrews went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and a walk. Catawba Valley is 38-6 overall, 25-3 in Region X of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Takia Nichols: The North Carolina Central softball team split a doubleheader against Norfolk State at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary. In the opening game, the Spartans defeated the Eagles 3-1. Nichols went 0-for-2 with a walk. The Eagles won the nightcap 4-3. Nichols scored the third run of the game when she drew a walk in the 4th inning. She scored on a groundout to the shortstop. Nichols was walked three times in the second game and didn’t have an official at-bat. The Eagles are 11-2 in the MEAC, one game behind Morgan State for first place. NCCU will travel to Baltimore to face Coppin State this weekend.

Tori Dalehite: The UNC Greensboro softball team took a weekend series against Samford at UNCG Softball Stadium over the weekend. On Friday, the Spartans defeated the Bulldogs 4-3 in eighth innings. Dalehite played as a pinch-runner. On Saturday, the Spartans defeated Samford 1-0 in eight innings. Dalehite, once again, played as a pinch-runner. On Sunday, Samford won 4-2. Dalehite played as a reserve. UNCG is 25-17 overall, 5-3 in the Southern Conference.


Orange softball seniors Bradsher, McPherson, Tackett, Wynne, Foster & Terrell discuss win on Senior Night

The Orange softball team got a leg up early against Cedar Ridge on Senior Night and went on to a 4-1 victory over the Red Wolves on Thursday night. On her Senior Night, centerfielder Serenity McPherson hit a solo homer in the first inning. Another senior, Carson Bradsher, went 3-for-3 with two runs scored. Junior Caden Robinson had a career-high 16 strikeouts, setting down 16 straight Red Wolves at one point. Robinson knocked in Bradsher in the first inning with a triple. Seniors Bradsher, McPherson, catcher Kelsey Tackett, left fielder Brianne “Breezy” Foster, right fielder April Terrell and designated hitter Savannah Wynne were all honored during a pregame ceremony. The group was responsible for Orange’s last conference championship in softball in 2021. Together, they have helped Orange reach #10 in the current 3A East RPI rankings under head coach Rachel Peel. This week, Orange will face Person in a rematch from March 24. The Panthers defeated the Rockets 4-2 in Roxboro, in a game where Reilly Crabtree had the game-winning hit in the sixth inning. Orange will also travel to Northern Durham, a former conference rival, on Wednesday night. It will be Orange’s final appearance at the current Northern Durham High School.

Orange softball seniors Bradsher, McPherson, Tackett, Wynne, Tackett, Foster & Terrell discuss win

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