Orange’s Mia Davidson is the new home run queen of North Carolina.
The senior catcher hit her 44th career home run, a grand slam, against Northern Vance on Friday to lead the Panthers to a 16-0 victory.
Davidson tied the record held by Meredith Burroughs of C.B. Aycock on Monday with her 43rd home run against East Chapel Hill.
Relief was the feeling Davidson said she felt after breaking the record.
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“I am glad it’s finally over, and we can start thinking about our team goals now,” Davidson said. “The record means a lot. It’s good that the pressure is off my back and now I can focus on the team and not the record. I am glad it came early in the season to get it out of the way. I am proud of the accomplishment.”
On Friday against Northern Vance, she went 2-for-3 with a double to go along with her grand slam. In their earlier matchup on Tuesday, Davidson went 2-for-2 with a double against Northern Vance, but she didn’t have any swings capable of producing a home run.
But she was dialed in during the rematch. Davidson said she feels like her timing is finally coming around after getting a late start on the softball season thanks to Orange’s run to the third round in the girls basketball playoffs.
“It was tough at first because my timing was off,” Davidson said. “I was able to practice some, but not as much as I normally would. I am getting back into it now. And I wouldn’t trade what we did in basketball. We went 26-2, which is crazy. You can’t dream of that, even though we lost in the third round, which was the best we’ve done in like 20 years.”
In Davidson’s first at-bat in the first inning, she hit a deep fly to right field that was misplayed, resulting in an error on the Vikings. She came back in the second and rocked a double with line drive to left. She wrapped up her day with the home run in the third inning as she came up with the bases loaded. There was no doubt that her second hit of the day would clear the left-field fence.
“It was a good pitch, a little high, but I knew if I go a hold of it, it would go,” Davidson said. “I am glad they pitched to me because a lot of teams haven’t been. I feel like I am on a good pace now.”
Davidson hit 18 home runs last season, which was one off the single-season mark.
Davidson has three home runs in six games so far as Orange has run out to a 6-0 mark, including a 2-0 record in the Big Eight. Orange has outscored its opponents 82-10 in its first six games, which includes four mercy-rule wins.
Orange coach Eddie Davidson said he is so proud of his daughter’s accomplishment and that she’s worked hard for it.
“I knew she would break it,” he said. “She’s one of the hardest working kids and all she’s talked about the last two weeks is that she’s not so worried about the record as she is the team having a legacy at the end of the year. That’s the way she looks at it.”
Orange finished with 10 hits in the game, including a 3-for-3 effort by freshman first baseman Jaden Hurdle. Junior Nashrya Wilkins pitched two innings and got the win, retiring six of the seven batters she faced. She gave up one hit and struck out three. Hurdle came in and wrapped up the third inning by striking out the side.
“I was confident going out there and it feels good for the season,” Wilkins said. “I am glad to be playing with Mia. She’s an amazing team player. She’s a leader and she helps everybody.”