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Lady Lions cruise to championship game

Ashley Watts slugged a three-run homer, and the Halifax County Middle School softball team banged out 14 hits in support of a no-hitter by Taylor Barnes to crush Powhatan 10-0 Monday in the semifinals of the Southside Middle School Conference Tournament. The Lions will play Park View tomorrow at --- for the tournament title.

Park View routed West Division top seed Central of Charlotte Courthouse 14-0 Monday in the other semifinal.

Barnes backed her no-hit effort with three doubles and an RBI, Cecilie Elliott had two doubles and an RBI, Kye-Neisha Logan a two-run double and a base hit, and Lauren Womack (RBI) and Michaela Farson each had two base hits for the Lions.

Megan Nunn and Gabby Spainhour (RBI) added base hits in addition to Watts’ home run, which capped a five-run, six-hit fourth inning.

A leadoff walk to Tara Brandon and back-to-back doubles by Elliott and Barnes gave Halifax a 2-0 lead in the first inning, and that was key to getting his team starting off on the right track, according to coach James Smith.

“Scoring two early runs let us know we could relax a little bit, and it gave us confidence we could hit their pitcher,” said Smith.

“We hit the ball yesterday, and we had contributions throughout the lineup, from top to bottom, and when you get it like that it means you’re hitting the ball.”

After two first-inning runs, the Lions added two more in the third on one-out singles by Logan and Farson, a two-out walk to Watts, an RBI single by Womack and a ground ball by Spainhour that was mishandled by Powhatan, resulting in another run for Halifax.

The Lions struck for five runs on six hits in the fourth inning, beginning with doubles by Elliott and Barnes, a two-run double by Logan, and a single by Farson followed by Watts’ three-run homer.

Barnes doubled again in the fifth inning, stole third and came home on a Farson groundout for the final run of the game.

Barnes was in control throughout the game, striking out seven batters and walking only two in five innings of work, and the Lions’ defense backed their pitcher with an almost error-free game in the field.

“We left some runs on the bases, leaving the bases loaded twice in the first four innings, but overall it’s the best we’ve played this year, with pitching, defense and hitting,” noted Smith.

“We’re coming together at just the right time, and we need to, because we have a tough game with Park View for the championship on Thursday.”