Lady Crusaders ease to 3-0 start
On one sunny field Friday afternoon at Grace Christian, everything went according to plan for the Lady Crusaders, while on a second field on the campus, nothing went well for the home team.
On the soccer pitch, Madison Bolen and Torie Boyte combined for seven goals as Grace Christian (3-0) remained perfect on the young season with a 9-0 win over Freedom Christian.
Freedom Christian, the No. 1-ranked squad in the NCISAA 1A baseball ranks, handled the Crusaders (2-2) with no problem for an 11-0 win.
On the diamond, the Patriots had the Crusaders in trouble three pitches into the game - and it wasn't with a hard hit ball yet in the game.
With a fly dropping into shallow center for a hit, then a dropped pop up to shortstop and a grounder, which could've been a double-play ball but turned into another Crusader error, the Patriots had one in, two on and no outs right away. Clean-up hitter Austin Deal kept the runs coming with a two-run double into left-center.
Crusader starting pitcher Micah Welborn did well to keep the first inning to a 3-0 score, then held the Patriots in the second.
The Crusader bats never got going though as Patriot pitcher Logan Hales, a tall lefty, fired a one-hitter. A fifth inning single was the only runner Hales allowed.
Welborn retired eight straight Patriots through the third, fourth and fifth innings before Freedom Christian rolled up six runs in the sixth to bring up the mercy rule.
The Crusaders, with an 8-0 versus Vandalia, then a 10-day break thanks to bad weather, and a 16-3 win versus Friendship Christian on Tuesday, had no problems getting hits and runs in their last two games. Grace Christian will play in a three-day tournament at Cary Academy beginning Thursday.
Grace Christian won via mercy rule on the soccer field, getting to 9-0 23 minutes into the second half.
Boyte opened the scoring and a converted penalty kick by Bolen made it 2-0 a few minutes into the match. Bolen finished with four goals and two assists while Boyte had three goals and two assists. Bolen and Boyte have seven goals each through three matches.
Jazmine Urrutia had a goal and an assist with Charity Taylor scoring a goal and an assist apiece for Kyndle Wallace and Alexis Hunt.
The 3-0 start is the first-ever such start to a season for Lady Crusader soccer, which brings more optimism than normal considering the team's youth said head coach Chris Pratt.
The routine Lady Crusader starting 11 includes one senior and 10 players sophomores or younger.
"This is my third year (with Grace Christian), and I think this is the best field unit we've ever put together, so we're very excited," Pratt said.
The Lady Crusaders begin their Carolina Christian Conference season with a trip to Crossroads Christian on Tuesday.