Orange Softball

Alumni Update: Another Big Weekend for Davidson; Tanner Stays Strong in Net for Greensboro College

Mia Davidson: This week’s Mia Davidson update may be the most impressive one yet. Mississippi State won all five games last week against Boston College, Illinois and UMass-Lowell. In those contests, Davidson hit .571 with three home runs, eight RBIs, three doubles and nine runs. Davidson now leads the SEC and is 17th in the country with eight home runs. As a freshman, Davidson leads the Bulldogs in runs (28), hits (33), doubles (8), RBIs (23), total bases (69), batting average (.440), slugging percentage (.920), and on-base percentage (.488). She has started all 24 games as Mississippi State has started 21-3 after going 36-22 last season.

Brad Debo: Now a sophomore catcher at N.C. State, Debo went 6-for-10 in a doubleheader against Boston College. In the opener, Debo went 3-for-6 with a double and two RBIs, scoring twice as the Wolfpack defeated the Eagles 13-7 to take the series. In the nightcap, Debo hit his first homer of the season as the Eagles salvaged an 11-3 win.  Last week, the Wolfpack went 3-1, taking two of three against the Eagles and grabbing a midweek victory at Campbell (a Tuesday game against UNC Wilmington was canceled). Debo went .352 for the week with a home run, four RBI, three runs scored and two doubles. Debo is now hitting .340 (3rd on the team) with 12 RBI and four doubles.

Mackenzie Cates: The Lenoir-Rhyne softball team is now ranked #12 in Division II with a 19-4 record, having won nine in a row. Cates, a senior catcher from Orange, had a tremendous doubleheader against Converse on Saturday, going five-for-6 with two home runs, 9 RBIs, a double and four runs. Last week, the Bears swept doubleheaders against Converse and Davis & Elkins. Cates is hitting .338 with four home runs and 18 RBIs. The Bears start South Atlantic Conference action next weekend against Tusculum.

Stephen Tanner: The former Cedar Ridge lacrosse goalkeeper earned two more wins in net for Division III Greensboro College last week. Tanner made nine saves as the Pride defeated the University of Dallas 14-8 on Saturday in Atlanta. On Friday, Greensboro defeated Hilbert College 7-6 at Pride Field. Tanner made four saves to improve to 6-3 on the season with 79 saves. Tanner is 3rd in the South Atlantic Conference in saves, 4th in Goals Against Average.

Brandon Andrews: The former Cedar Ridge pitcher and centerfielder threw one inning in Nicholls 21-6 win over Sacred Heart. The Colonels had a three-game winning streak on Saturday with a loss to Northwestern State. Nicholls is 4-12, 1-2 in the Southland Conference.

Rachel Peel: Peel, a catcher for Meredith College, appeared in three games last week for the Angels in games against Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Aurora and Salem College. Meredith is 10-9, 3-3 is USA Softball’s South Division.

Jordan Toney: Toney threw an inning of scoreless relief in UNC-Pembroke’s 15-5 win over Coker. Toney is a junior for the Braves after transferring from Pfeiffer in 2017.

Bowen Collins: Collins now plays for Lenoir-Rhyne’s men’s lacrosse team. He played in the Bears’ 10-4 win over Belmont Abbey last week. Lenoir-Rhyne is 7-1 after beating Wingate in its South Atlantic Conference opener on Saturday. This season, Collins has scored two goals and an assist in four games.


Sanford Gets Game-Winning Hit in 1st At-Bat as Orange Softball Wins Opener vs. E. Alamance 6-5

In theory, the defending 3A State Champion that returns six starters from last year wouldn’t have to face very much adversity.

Then there’s reality, which is what the Orange softball faced nose-to-nose to start its season on Wednesday night.

As they’ve done so often over the past three years, the Lady Panthers found a way, thanks to a game-winning hit from a freshman catcher in her first varsity at-bat——who wasn’t even supposed to be called up from the JV team until the day before.

Alaysia Sanford poked a one-out, bases-loaded infield hit behind second base to score Jayden Hurdle in the bottom of the seventh inning for the game-winning hit as Orange defeated Eastern Alamance 6-5 at Orange Softball Field on Wednesday night. It was the third time in the last three years that Orange defeated the Eagles by one run.

Earlier in the inning, the Eagles tied the game after Morgan Lawson doubled off the left field wall and scored off a dropped ball hit by catcher Haley Batista.

Sanford will go down as the replacement for North Carolina State Gatorade Player of the Year Mia Davidson, who set the state record for career home runs last season. The thing is, Sanford not only wasn’t supposed to play on Wednesday, she wasn’t even supposed to start the season at varsity.

Freshman Hunter Balog was supposed to start on Wednesday, but she was hit in the head by a practice ball inside Orange’s practice gym on Tuesday. Instead of filling the role of Davidson, Balor was placed in concussion protocol. So interim head coach Henry Horn, on the job for all of five days, called up Sanford on 24 hours notice.

It was Orange’s first game since the resignation of head coach Eddie Davidson, who informed the squad last Thursday of his departure. Three weeks ago, Davidson’s wife Christina received a promotion with the National Association of Letter Carriers, which required a relocation to Washington, D.C.

Hurdle, a sophomore who replaced starter Alyssa Hellman in the third inning, earned the victory in relief for the Panthers. Hurdle, who started the game at first base, finished 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Orange bolted out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Freshman shortstop Emma Puckett doubled off the left field wall. The next batter, Alysann Lloyd, also doubled into the left field corner to score Puckett. Hurdle bounced a  1-0 fastball to right field to score Lloyd. Designated hitter Alisha Pettiford floated a single to right field, plating Hurdle.

Eastern Alamance tied the game with three runs in the third inning. Madison Harley, batting ninth, led off with a double off the left field wall. Lawson singled to right and Haleigh Palmer walked to load the bases. Caris Faucette knocked in Harley with a grounder to third baseman Olivia Ruff, who tried to throw Harley out at the plate. After Lawson scored on a wild pitch, Cameron Bass singled to right center to drive in Palmer and tie the game.

In the 5th, Eastern Alamance got its only lead of the game when Batista homered to left-center off Hurdle, one of only two hits that she surrendered.

In the bottom of the frame, Orange got the lead back off of two unearned runs. Hurdle started with a leadoff walk, then Pettiford attempted a bunt, which led to a throwing error. In the subsequent at-bat, Ruff also bunted, leading to another throwing error that scored Hurdle. Left fielder Hayley Funk hit a sacrifice fly to score Pettiford and give Orang a 5-4 lead.

In her first varsity game, Puckett went 2-for-4 with a double.

Orange will travel to Mebane to face Eastern Alamance again on Saturday afternoon at 1.

Orange P/1B Jaden Hurdle Discusses Win over Eastern Alamance

It was an eventful season-opener for Orange sophomore Jaden Hurdle on Wednesday night against Eastern Alamance. Hurdle started the game at 1st base, but came on as a pitcher in the 3rd innings. Hurdle earned her third career win in relief while going 2-for-3 with an RBI double. She also score the game-winning run after freshman Alaysia Sanford drove her in with an infield single in Sanford’s first varsity at-bat in the bottom of the seven as Orange won 6-5.

Orange 1B/P Jaden Hurdle Discusses Season-Opening Win vs. Eastern Alamance

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Davidson Resigns as Orange Softball Coach, Former Northern Assistant Hill Named Interim Coach

Eddie Davidson’s arrival as softball coach at Orange High was the textbook definition of perfect timing. He arrived just as his oldest  daughter Montana was a rising senior and his youngest daughter Mia was a junior.

It May, Eddie led the Orange softball team to the first women’s team state championship in school history.

In a perfect world, Davidson would just be planting his roots in Hillsborough and prepare for a long stay, just like his baseball coach Dean Dease has done when Davidson played right field for him in 1991 and 1992.

But sometimes life gets in the way and the timing isn’t always perfect.

Two weeks ago, Davidson’s wife Christina earned a promotion for the National Association of Letter Carriers after a vacancy suddenly opened, necessitating a move to Washington, D.C. Davidson, who has worked in the post office industry in Durham just like his father Cliff since graduating from Orange, also earned a promotion and will accompany his wife.

On Thursday, the day before Orange was slated to open its season against Eastern Alamance (who was postponed do to high winds), Davidson informed his team of his resignation.

Henry Horn, who served as an assistant at Northern Durham for three years, will serve as the interim coach.

“It was very difficult for him,” said Horn. “It was a good situation for his family at that time. He really hated to step away, but that’s when he asked me to fill that void for this season. I told him I would.”

After Horn left Northern, he had no intention of getting back into the game. He filled the time watching his daughter, Callie, play at Elon. Then Mia Davidson talked him into coming back to be a hitting coach for her Showcase Summer League team.

When Davidson asked Horn to return to high school coaching in 2017, Horn was reluctant.

”I wasn’t ready, to be honest,” said Horn. “But I really like these kids. I really like these kids. I promised him that I would stay here just to keep the tradition going.”

Davidson, who played football and baseball during his high school days at Orange from 1988-1992, leaves the softball team after two seasons as head coach. He went 49-7 with two Big 8 Championships (Orange shared the 2016 title with Northwood).

In 2016, Orange advanced to the 4th round of the 3A State Playoffs, where they lost to C.B. Aycock 7-5.

A year later, the Panthers claimed the 3A state championship by sweeping Piedmont in the best-of-three series at N.C. State’s Dail Field. Mia Davidson was named series MVP after she hit a two-run homer to dead center to vault Orange ahead 3-2 in the 7th inning to take game one.


Alumni Update; Davidson Stays Hot; Cates Leads Lenior-Rhyne Softball to National Ranking

Mia Davidson: The freshman Mississippi State catcher currently leads the Bulldogs in batting average, hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases, slugging percentage (.803, over 150 points better than Morgan Bell, who is in 2nd place), and on-base percentage. And she has a stolen base. On Saturday during the Bulldog Slamboree, Davidson hit a two-run homer to center in the first inning. The Bulldogs swept the Bulldog Slamboree with wins over Lamar, Mercer and a doubleheader sweep against Sam Houston State. Mississippi State is now 16-3 and ranked #25 in the country.  

Mackenzie Cates: The senior shortstop for the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears softball team, Cates has helped the Bears win 5 straight games, reaching a 15-4 record overall and a #15 ranking in NCAA Division II. On the opener of a doubleheader against Francis Marion, Cates went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the Bears won 5-1. Later that day, Lenior-Rhyne completed the sweep as Cates with 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI as the Bears prevailed 8-2. Last Tuesday, Lenior-Rhyne swept another doubleheader against Belmont Abbey in Hickory. The Bears took the opener 8-0, where Cates went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Through 19 games, Cates, a native of Efland, has hit .309 with one home run and 7 RBIs. She also has three doubles and is 2-for-2 on stolen bases.

Brandon Andrews: The first Ceda Ridge centerfielder/pitcher played in two games over the weekend for Nicholls in the Cox Diamond Invitational. Andrew threw two-thirds of an inning, striking out one, in a 6-3 loss to Ohio State. Andrews also pitched in an 11-5 loss to Eastern Michigan. Nicholls is 1-9.

Brad Debo: The N.C. State baseball team is off to a 10-2 start. Catcher Brad Debo, who graduated from Orange in 2016, has started ten games as a catcher, hitting .333 with two doubles and eight RBIs. On Friday, when the Wolfpack defeated Bowling Green, Debo went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI as Wolfpack Coach Elliott Avent won his 800th career game. On Saturday in a 21-4 victory over Campbell, Debo went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI.

Stephen Tanner: A former goalkeeper for the Cedar Ridge lacrosse team, Tanner earned the win in net for Greensboro College in a 10-7 victory over Hampton on Saturday. Tanner made five saves in playing 75 minutes. On Friday, Greensboro edged Alma 10-9, where Tanner earned another win by making eight saves. So far this season, Tanner has started eight games. He is 5-3 with a .478 save percentage and a 9.05 goals against average. The Pride is 5-3 overall in the NCAA Division III South Athletic Conference.