Anna Phifer says her teammates mentioned the no-hitter.
“Oh, yeah, they talked about it several times,” Phifer said Friday evening, shortly after pitching the gem in Marvin Ridge’s 10-0 rout of host South Mecklenburg in the 4A girls’ softball Western Regional semifinals.
“They let me know, but it didn’t bother me,” Phifer added. “I just kept concentrating.”
Phifer is only a freshman, but she pitched like a true veteran as the third-seeded Mavericks (20-2) won their 13th consecutive game and snapped a 17-game winning streak for South Mecklenburg (19-2), the West’s second seed.
She struck out 12, didn’t walk a batter, and came within a fluke play of pitching a perfect game.
The Sabres’ only runner was shortstop Megan Rapp, who appeared to ground out in the fourth inning but was given first base due to interference by Marvin Ridge catcher Lexi Kirby.
That was about the only thing that Marvin Ridge did wrong Friday night.
They piled up a big enough lead that the game was ended after six innings due to the 10-run rule.
“We had a thorough game plan, and the players executed it really well,” first-year Mavericks’ coach Linda McGowan said. “We talked about how we would face different (South Mecklenburg) players. And our players did what we talked about.”
Marvin Ridge, making the climb from 3A to 4A this season, got the only run it needed in the first inning, when Anna McGowan tripled home Mauri Murray, who had reached on a single.
The Mavericks added three runs in the third, two of them on a towering home run by Anna McGowan.
“When I come up to the plate, I am always on Cloud 9,” said McGowan, who has 11 homers this season. “When you hit it out, you know it. And I knew I’d hit that one.”
That left it up to Phifer, and she responded.
She retired South Mecklenburg’s leading hitter, Taylor Barlow, on a groundout and a fly ball. And she struck out cleanup hitter Brenna Fasching twice.
“I felt confident, but I never thought we’d win by the 10-run rule,” Phifer said.
Linda McGowan said moving up to 4A hasn’t been a problem for her team, since the Mavericks played a steady diet of 4A schools in previous seasons.
“We just go out there and play the next team on our schedule,” she said. “This is a team with some great seniors, but also some young players – freshmen and sophomores – with great talent. They have meshed together very well.”
PHOTOS: Marvin Ridge at South Meck
Lake Norman Charter wins lacrosse
Lake Norman Charter fell in an early hole but rallied in a big way Friday night, trouncing First Flight 19-5 and capturing the public school 1A/2A/3A boys’ lacrosse state championship.
First Flight (12-3) jumped to a 3-1 lead, but the Knights (19-3) rallied by scoring three straight goals shortly before halftime for a 4-3 edge.
In the second half, Lake Norman Charter dominated the game, played at the WakeMed Soccer Complex in Hickory. Tyler Price scored two quick goals, giving the Knights a 6-3 lead, and Lake Norman Charter pulled away.
The Knights, winning their first state boys’ lacrosse championship, outshot First Flight 23-9 in the second half.
Jack Dalton led the victors with six goals and three assists.
Private school baseball
Charlotte Christian 7, Metrolina Christian 3: Two-time defending 4A champion Charlotte Christian took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three title series, jumping to a 3-0 first-inning lead and pulling away.
The host Knights (29-3), the No. 1 seed in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 4A playoffs, scored in the first inning on solo home runs by Judd Utermark and Tanner McCammon. John Lash’s RBI single made it 3-0.
Calvert Clark added a two-run single in the second, giving the Knights a 5-0 lead.
Clark was the starting pitching and got the victory, working six innings.
Starting time for Game 2 of the series has been moved from 3 p.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. If a third game is needed, it will be played after Game 2. The series is taking place at Charlotte Christian.
SouthLake Christian 12, High Point Christian 1: Nico Noto homered and drove in two runs, and Jim Burnham scored three times, as the Eagles (17-6) won the opener of their 3A best-of-three championship series. High Point Christian fell to 24-9.
Cannon wins softball opener
Cannon School scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning and upset top-seeded Charlotte Christian 4-3 in the opening game of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association’s 4A girls’ softball finals.
Cannon School (15-7) had lost both of its regular-season meetings with Charlotte Christian (19-2).
The host Knights had tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth on a double by Kayleigh Prather. Cannon School went ahead in the top of the eighth on an RBI hit by Brie Biddle, who went 3-for-5 in the game with two doubles.
Jolie Matthews made a game-saving catch in the bottom of the seventh, reaching over the fence to catch a potential winning home run by Charlotte Christian.
Game 2 of the series is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, with a third game, if needed, to follow. The series is being played at Charlotte Christian, which beat Cannon School in three games for the 4A championship last year.
High Point Christian 3, Hickory Grove Christian 0: Lexi Hall pitched a six-hitter, and High Point Christian won the opener of the 3A private school softball finals. Games 2 and 3 will be Saturday at North Davidson High.
Public school baseball
T.C. Roberson 5, Myers Park 2: The Mustangs’ season came to an end, as a pair of T.C. Roberson pitchers held the visitors to two hits. Thomas Bolt and Max Perry each singled for Myers Park (22-5), which led 2-1 until the Rams scored four times in the bottom of the fourth innings.
Ben Hemphill drove in two runs for T.C. Roberson (22-6), which faces unbeaten and top-seeded Providence in the West 4A Regional best-of-three finals next week.
South Rowan 7, North Lincoln 3: Kane Kepley smacked a two-run single for the go-ahead runs, highlighting a five-run sixth inning for South Rowan (26-4). North Lincoln finished with a 20-6 mark.
South Rowan, the top seed in the 3A West, faces East Lincoln in the Western Regional best-of-three finals next week.
East Lincoln 4, St. Stephens 1: Sophomore Carson Dahle pitched a complete-game victory, leading the Mustangs (20-6) past St. Stephens (23-7). East Lincoln had lost two of three previous games this season against St. Stephens.
Cherryville 7, Uwharrie Charter 5: The host Ironmen (19-9) advanced to the West Regional finals and a best-of-three series with Union Academy.
Union Academy 7, South Stokes 0: The visiting Cardinals (19-7) advanced to the West 1A Regional finals, as Dylan Sellers fired a four-hit shutout. Gavin Esp and Jeremiah Shine each had three hits and two RBI for Union Academy.
Public school softball
East Forsyth 3, Alexander Central 1: East Forsyth’s Kierston Deal outdueled Alexander Central ace Faith Carrigan, tossing a two-hitter and striking out 17. Carrigan scattered five hits and fanned 10. Deal slammed a two-run double in a three-run third inning for East Forsyth (24-2). The Eagles advance to face Marvin Ridge in the 4A West Regional finals next week.
Alexander Central finished with a 25-3 record.
North Buncombe 1, Crest 0 (13 innings): University of Tennessee commit Karlyn Pickens had a memorable night, pitching all 13 innings for the victorious Black Hawks, allowing only one hit, and striking out 29 Crest hitters.
On top of that, Pickens scored the walk-off winning run in the 13th, scoring from third on a Molly Clark single. North Buncombe (23-0) threatened often in the game, leaving five runners in scoring position and having two runners thrown out at the plate.
Crest freshman Aidan Ledbetter also pitched a complete game. The Chargers finished 24-3.
North Buncombe will face Central Davidson for the 3A West Regional title next week.
West Stanly 7, Anson County 4: The host Colts (25-4) took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a wild pitch, then scored two more runs in the inning and held on. Anson County (17-8) had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Camryn Martin’s two-run home run.
In next week’s best-of-three West Regional finals, West Stanly faces West Stokes, which knocked off top-seeded and previously unbeaten Providence Grove on Friday night.