Area softball standouts earn top conference honors

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A scintillating softball season for Record area teams concluded recently with a host of clubs making state playoff runs.

Local players and coaches were acknowledged by their respective conferences this week, some taking home top honors. 

Harnett Central 

Sophomore standout Savannah Bain was named All American Conference Player of the Year, leading five Central selections to receive first-team honors. 

The AAC's leading hitter finished with 40 base knocks to go with a conference-topping .500 batting average. Bain also ended top five in slugging (.725) and on-base percentage (.549). She enjoyed a career outing against Terry Sanford on April 1, posting a 4-for-4 effort with two triples.

Meanwhile, first-year manager Ashley Gaines took top coaching honors after leading the Lady Trojans to a 13-1 conference record and a share of the regular-season title. Gaines also guided the group's AAC tournament championship run and helped Central reach the fourth round of the state playoffs for the first time since 2010.   

Midway 

Susan Clark was tabbed Southeastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, headlining six all-league selections for Midway. Clark led the team to a 14-8 overall mark, finishing atop the SAC-7 with a 10-2 record. 

The Lady Raiders won their first eight league matchups and eventually earned a second consecutive postseason victory in as many years, shutting out Manteo 5-0 during the first-round contest on May 10.  

South Johnston 

Kennedy Byrd earned Quad County Conference Player of the Year, while South skipper Ashley Ennis took top coaching honors, to pace a league-leading nine selections. 

After dominating opponents on both sides of the plate all season, Byrd wrapped her final prep season as the QCC leader in wins (11) and earned-run average (1.22) while finishing second with 112 strikeouts. 
On offense, the Louisburg College signee ranked top five among QCC hitters in home runs, slugging and RBIs.  

 Ennis helped South to a perfect 14-0 conference record, and 21-2 overall.  The veteran manager led his team to 20 straight wins, including a trip to the third round for the first time since 2015.

Triton

Stepping into a lead pitching role this season, Aubree Bass answered the call with a career year and helped the Lady Hawks to a share of the AAC regular-season championship

The sophomore starter posted a league-low 1.77 ERA and was second in both wins (12) and strikeouts (129) for the season.  

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