Softball success is nothing new at South Granville – the Vikings have piled up nine state championships on the diamond, including the past back-to-back 2A titles.
But the school has never won three state titles in a row, and that’s something coach Jackie Day would love to accomplish this spring with a revamped roster that boasts a unique blend of veterans to go with four starting freshmen.
“Certainly, having the opportunity (for crown No. 3) is a motivator,” Day said. “We have to practice every day toward that goal. If we don’t, it won’t happen. We are used to setting our sights big (at South Granville).”
Even with so many ninth-grade contributors, the Vikings’ fortunes will probably depend on its effective battery of Miranda Barker at pitcher and talented junior Megan White – last year’s state title series MVP – behind the plate. Abbi Colclough, who has signed with Louisburg College, is a vocal senior leader who contributes with both her bat and glove.
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Barker is hitting .690 (three home runs, 25 RBIs), White .581 (four home runs, 20 RBIs) and Colclough .553 (two home runs, 12 RBIs).
“I think we are doing well so far,” Colclough said. “Yes, there is a lot of pressure on us, but we just have to be confident, and we can’t get the big head. We can’t think we can dominate every team. A lot of other teams have gotten better. We can’t just go in and think we are going to win because we have won (the state title twice in a row).”
So far the Vikings are 12-0 and have allowed just nine runs. Barker has four no-hitters, two perfect games and a 0.79 ERA.
While Barker, White and Colclough form a hard-hitting trio in the Nos. 3-5 spots in the lineup, South Granville’s top of the order features a pair of freshmen – shortstop Emma Jones (.512) and second baseman Ally Goss (.605).
“We have a very good middle school program at Hawley (which is just down the road from the South Granville campus),” Day said. “Those kids play their game early in the afternoon and then come over and watch our game. So by the time they get here, they have a pretty good idea of what to expect.”