This week sports editor Andrew Stark takes a flyover of all that’s happening in Matthews and Mint Hill sports this spring with his game notes. These quick hitters will get you caught up on all of the action.
• Covenant Day hammed Carmel Christian in the battle of Matthews on March 29, winning 16-2. Philip Abner got the win for the Lions with a complete game two-hitter and also helped his own cause with a home run. Jackson Bertlesen drove in three runs, Brenham Daniel had three hits and Zach Brighton homered and had a pair of RBIs. The win got the Lions to 8-4 overall and was their fifth consecutive. Although the lineup is deep and talented, Bertlesen, Abner and Brighton have been the Lions most consistent bats thus far. Abner and lefty Robert Stone have excelled on the mound, but conference play begins this week with a two-game set with Providence Day. Since moving to the CISAA conference before the 2014-15 season, Covenant Day has gone 16-38 in conference games during the regular season against those teams. The Lions have done well against Charlotte Latin (9-3 in games against the Hawks since 2014-15) and Rabun Gap (2-3), but have particularly struggled with Country Day (2-9), Providence Day (2-12) and, especially, Charlotte Christian (1-11).
• Independence swept Butler last week, winning 7-4 on March 26 and taking the clincher 7-3 on March 29. The Patriots improved to 6-7 while the Bulldogs dropped to 4-7 on the season.
• Queens Grant has won five straight games, including beating 4A Butler. The Stallions are 9-3 on the season and most recently got a 7-6 win over Carolina International.
• The Independence girls team won a thriller over rival Butler, winning 10-9 on March 27. Sophomores Ella Holmes (three goals) and Joni Gerringer (team-high five ground balls and two goals) scored the multiple Patriot goals.
• Senior attacker Kaitlyn Coleman is Butler’s leading scorer. The Bulldogs dropped to 5-3 with the loss, but are looking for their second consecutive winning season after recording their first winning campaign in program history last year with their 10-5 mark. Coleman is having another big season after scoring 56 goals last year and had a six-goal game in a win over South Meck earlier this season.
• The Butler boys team got beat soundly by Myers Park (20-4) on March 29, but two days earlier the Bulldogs enjoyed a 16-5 win over rival Independence. Seniors Kyle Steiner and Connor Harmon have the Butler offense running smoothly. Steiner leads the team with about three goals per game and Harmon is the team leader in assists and is third in scoring. Juniors Zach Weisberger and Omar LaVenture are also among the team’s top scorers.
• Independence lost two matches last week to Myers Park (4-0) and Hickory Ridge (3-0). The week before the Patriots shutout Rocky River 8-0 and snuck past Butler 3-2 on March 21. Patriot senior Annaliese Shelley scored twice, junior Holly Hunter added a goal and freshman Jasmine Bennet Day added a pair of assists for Independence, who is 6-5 overall through April 1. Butler got goals from Sophia Brotherton and Bailey Creech. The Bulldogs (4-5) most recently hammered Rocky River 9-0 behind two goals each from Brotherton, Kristen Lliso and Paige Summerhill.
• Carmel Christian is 5-3-1 overall, but the Cougars have won four straight after blanking Grace Academy 4-0 on March 29. During the four-game run, they’ve outscored opponents 20-3 after starting the season getting outscored 15-4 through the first five games. Eleven players have scored, with Claire Crocker (five goals), Jenna Wilson (four) and Passion Kabwe (three strikes) as the team leaders.
• Independence is the Southwestern 4A leaders at 8-0 in league play and 9-3 overall. Last week the Patriots lost 8-1 to Central Cabarrus but rebounded with an 8-1 win over Myers Park the next day. Sophomore Mallory Shaver had two doubles and drove in three while Mayla Douglas had a triple and two RBIs. Shaver, Douglas and fellow sophomore Maya Grant are all batting over .500 this season, but Independence is getting huge years from Briana Grant, Cameron Howey, Abrianna Berry, Emily Shaver and Jaylin Adkins at the plate as all eight bat over .400.
• Butler is 7-3 overall, but winners of four straight. Hannah Harmon, MacKenzie Silva and Makayla Cuthbertson all have driven in over 10 runs on the season, but the Bulldogs lineup is loaded with Jazzy Freeman, Ema Hutchins and freshmen Demya Brown and Makenna Thomas making impacts.
• Covenant Day picked up a pair of wins last week, throttling Charlotte Latin (19-1) on March 27 and shutting out Rabun Gap (10-0) two days later. In the win over Latin, freshman Taylor Houseton went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and three RBIs. Elizabeth Ertel had three RBIs, Sadie Evans drove in two runs while Megan Skvoretz and MaKayla Mabry had two hits each. Two days later Mabry, who is an eighth-grader, had two hits including a triple and, along with Svoretz, drove in three runs in the win over Rabun Gap. Houseton recorded the complete game two-hit shutout and she struck out seven batters over five innings of work.
• Three-time defending NCISAA 2A champion Carmel Christian is off to a 9-1 start, with the only loss coming to defending 3A champ Country Day. Most recently the Cougars polished off Weddington 6-3 on March 27. Alec Strause, Matt Gooch, seventh-grader Gabe Avram, Rob Gruber, eighth-grader Halvorsen and Andrew Riebe are some of the names to remember.
Track and field
• Rocky River senior Christopher Alexander owns the No.1 distance in the triple jump (50 feet, 10 inches) this season, a feat he accomplished March 10 at New Balance Nationals. Alexander, who is an N.C. State commit, is also seventh in the state in the long jump (23 feet, 3 inches).
• The Providence girls track team owns the state’s fastest times in a pair of relays, both set March 10 at New Balance Nationals. First, the team of Nimeesha Coleman, Ella Mainwaring Foster, Amanda Watson and Ariana Rivera ran the state’s top time in the 4×400 (3 minutes, 54.10 seconds). Mainwaring Foster, Rivera, Watson and Holly Klug also set the state standard in the sprint medley relay (4:14.32).
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