CHAPEL HILL — It only took one pitch in the top of the third for Mia Davidson to make history. The Orange star, who entered the game one home run shy of tying the state softball record, crushed the first pitch she saw over the right field fence. Her home run sparked the Panthers to a 8-3 victory at East Chapel Hill on Monday.
“I just wanted to see what she was going to give me,” said Davidson. “When she did, I knew I had to jump on it. I knew I hit it solid, and it just kept going.”
Davidson’s shot to right led off the third and made it 1-0 in favor of Orange. It was her second of the season and it gave her 43 career home runs to match Meredith Burroughs' mark at Pikeville Aycock.
The Panthers then tacked on three more runs in the inning, but not without a bit of controversy. With the bases loaded, Katie Agatucci’s pitch grazed Hayley Funk in the knee, bringing in the second run of the game. Wildcats head coach Joe Simmons wasn’t exactly thrilled with the call.
“I didn’t think it hit her,” said Simmons. “The ump said it grazed, but the way it came off and how hard it hit our catcher, I didn’t think it hit her. That really changed the momentum of the game.”
Olivia Ruff then drove in two more to make it 4-0 in favor of the Panthers.
East Chapel Hill chipped into the lead, scoring a run in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, but a four-run sixth by the Panthers effectively closed the door on an East Chapel Hill comeback.
Davidson had to wait more than week for her shot to tie the record. In the team’s last game against Cardinal Gibbons, she was walked four times. Despite the delay, Davidson never grew frustrated, saying, “I just take whatever I can get. I know that if I relaxed, it would eventually come.”
It was fitting that Davidson tied the record against East Chapel Hill. She hit her first home run in her third career game against the Wildcats as a freshman.
Orange head coach Cliff Davidson praised Simmons, pitcher Agatucci, and the Wildcats for going after Davidson.
“I really want to thank their coach for going at her and giving her a chance to tie the record,” said Davidson. “Their pitcher did a really good job against her and I really respect them for that.”
Simmons had no regrets about pitching to Mia, saying, “She’s a good player, but nobody on base, you go after a batter in that situation. A one-run home run doesn’t usually make that big of a difference at that point in the game. We’re the type of team that we’re going to go after everybody because we need to find out who we are and where we’re at.” He added, “she’s one of the 20 best players in the country. I respect her.”
Orange 8, East Chapel Hill 3
East Chapel Hill|001|110|0—3|5|4
Orange—Kristina Givens and Mia Davidson. East Chapel Hill—Katie Agatucci and Kayla Characklis. W—Kristina Givens, 4-0. L—Katie Agatucci, 3-2. Leading hitters—Orange: Mia Davidson 1-3, HR; Jaden Hurdle 3-3, 2B, RBI. East Chapel Hill—Kayla Characklis 1-3, RBI
Records—Orange 4-0, 0-0 Big Eight. East Chapel Hill 5-2, 4-0 PAC-6.