ST. PAULS — West Bladen softball coach Joey Autry made a successful debut in the Lady Knights’ dugout on Monday, guiding West Bladen to a 20-1 win in the season-opener against St. Pauls.
Kathryn Schultz twirled a one-hitter for the Lady Knights and three West Bladen hitters — Alanna Ludlum, Jenna Dove and Conner Brisson — each swatted three hits in the win.
The Lady Knights erupted right from the start, scoring eight two-out runs in the first inning, highlighted by six hits — four of which were of the infield variety.
In the second inning, West Bladen tacked on three runs for an 11-0 lead, while the Lady Bulldogs got their lone run in the bottom of the inning on a triple and wild pitch.
Ludlum’s double started the third inning for the Lady Knights and helped lead to another run and a 12-1 advantage.
With two outs in the fourth frame, infield hits and a hit batter loaded the bases for West Bladen and Brisson belted a triple to score all three runners. Before the inning was over, West Bladen had scored seven runs and opened a 19-1 lead.
The Lady Knights plated their final run in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Schultz.
Ludlum was 3-for-4 with a double; Dove was 3-for-4 with two RBI; and Brisson was 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBI for West Bladen. Laikyn Pait was 2-for-4, Logan Autry was 2-for-5 with two RBI and Schultz was 2-for-5 with two RBI.
— In Elizabethtown on Monday, the Lady Eagles opened the season with a 5-1 win over Red Springs behind a hat trick by Hannah Devane.
East Bladen got two goals from Devane and one from Maddie West to take a 3-0 advantage by halftime. Goals by Justyna Gargala and Devane in the second half sealed the win for the Lady Eagles.
Kathryn Cole had three saves in goal, while Claire Campbell, Cassie Hill and Gargala had assists for East Bladen.
— In Elizabethtown on Monday, East Bladen took a 2-0 season-opening win over South Robeson behind the one-hit pitching of Alex Coates.
The lone against Coates was a two-out single in the seventh inning. The Eagles senior struck out seven hitters.
East Bladen scored its runs in the bottom of the first frame on a pair of passed balls.
Kyle Tatum had the Eagles’ lone hit in the game, a single in the sixth inning.
— In St. Pauls on Monday, a seventh-inning rally by the Bulldogs earned the home team an 8-7 win over West Bladen in the season-opener.
The Knights scored three runs in the first inning, highlighted by an RBI double by Jeremy Hunt, RBI single by Trent West and RBI single by Chandler Lennon. St. Pauls scored twice in the inning to cut the deficit to 3-2.
In the third inning, West Bladen scored a run thanks to Bulldog errors and took a 4-2 edge, but St. Pauls tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning.
After three scoreless innings, the Knights added three runs in the seventh thanks to a wild pitch, a hit batter, a walk and another wild pitch for a 7-2 lead.
But St. Pauls pushed across five runs to steal the win.
Hunt was 2-for-4 at the plate with the double to lead the Knights’ five-hit attack.