Emma Mazzarone of Providence Grove was back to sending batters packing as the softball season got under way.
Mazzarone is following up a record-setting 2022 cam-paign: As a junior, her 348 strikeouts last season were the 23rd best ever in a season in North Carolina history and second best in 2022, behind Karlyn Pickens of North Buncombe, who finished with 402. They were the only two with more than 300 Ks last year.
Mazzarone’s 0.31 ERA was tied for 36th best in state history and was third best in North Carolina last season, behind Pickens’ 0.20 ERA and Morgan Strickland of Franklinton’s 0.10.
Here’s a look at how last week unfolded:
* Mazzarone fired a two-hitter with 17 strikeouts in Providence Grove’s 4-2 win over Southern Guilford. Gracie Smith had two hits and two RBIs. Mailey Way had a pair of doubles while Devin Kelly got two hits.
*Molly Bulla was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in Uwharrie Charter’s 11-1 rout of West Davidson. Ansley Wright collected a pair of doubles and drove in three runs. Logan Zephir pitched a six-inning six-hitter with five strikeouts. She also had two hits and an RBI.
*Maddie Varner’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Southwestern Randolph a 2-1 win over West Stanly. Macie Crutchfield threw a three-hitter with 16 strikeouts.
*Emma Mazzarone fired a two-hitter with 17 strikeouts in Providence Grove's 4-2 win over Southern Guilford. Gracie Smith had two hits and two RBIs. Mailey Way had a pair of doubles while Devin Kelly got two hits.
*Skylar Pittman, Carmen Turgeon and Savannah Heiney all had two hits and two RBIs in Wheatmore’s 14-1 romp over Salisbury. Samantha Bugg had a double and two RBIs. Turgeon pitched a five-inning two-hitter with 11 strikeouts.
*Heiney went 3-for-3 with a triple in Wheatmore’s eight-inning, 5-2 win over West Davidson. Turgeon scattered 9 hits and struck out 12 to get the win. Zoey Bugg had a hit and two RBIs.
*Logan Beaver got three hits, including a double, and drove in three runs as Eastern Randolph pounded Jordan-Matthews 12-2 in six innings. Ayanna Mears smashed a three-run homer for the Wildcats. Madison Canoy, who had a double, and Addie Flinchum each had two hits. Skylar Pugh worked 4 1/3 innings, striking out 10. Flinchum finished up in the circle, striking out four.
*Pugh scattered five hits and struck out 11 in Eastern Randolph’s 5-2 win over Southern Guilford. Flinchum and Beaver were both 3-for-3. One of Flinchum’s hits was a home run and she had two RBIs. Trinity Hardin, Lanie McDaniel and Pugh all had two hits. Wynne Bartholow had a double and two RBIs.
*Bulla homered in Uwharrie Charter’s 4-1 loss to Union Academy.