Southwestern Randolph team members celebrate after the PAC Tournament championship game against visiting Providence Grove. (Scott Pelkey/Randolph Record)
ASHEBORO – Macie Crutchfield threw a three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts as Southwestern Randolph completed its domination of the Piedmont Athletic Conference with Thursday night’s 7-0 victory against visiting Providence Grove in the league tournament championship game.
Carleigh Whitson had two hits and two runs batted in to help the Cougars to their first conference tournament title in eight years.
Caressa King, who had a triple, drove in one run and scored a run, while Madelyn Smith and Madison Varner both knocked in one run. Lileigh Payne and Maddie Strider each scored two runs.
Southwestern Randolph (19-1) is expected to be one of the West Region’s top seed for the Class 2-A state playoffs that begin next week.
Crutchfield didn’t issue a walk, but she hit three batters. The Cougars were aided by error-less defense.
Providence Grove (13-8) lost for the third time this season to the Cougars, scoring a total of one run in those games.
In the latest meeting, Emma Mazzarone, Mailey Way and Maddie Flinchum each had one single for the Patriots. Mazzarone was the losing pitcher, striking out nine and walking three.
Southwestern Randolph avenged a 1-0 loss from last year’s PAC Tournament final at Providence Grove.
Earlier rounds …
Southwestern Randolph won 3-0 against Uwharrie Charter Academy in the semifinals with Crutchfield’s two-hitter including 14 strikeouts. Varner had a triple and scored a run.
Third-seeded Providence Grove edged second-seeded Eastern Randolph 3-2 with Mazzarone’s complete game from the pitching circle.
Providence Grove began the tournament with an 11-1 victory against sixth-seeded Wheatmore with Mazzarone logging 11 strikeouts and driving in three runs. Leela Von Der Hey also knocked in two runs, while Kaylee St. Join joined Mazzarone with two doubles.
Eastern Randolph won 17-0 against seventh-seeded Trinity in the quarterfinals as Quachell Headen knocked in four runs and Skylar Pugh struck out 11 with one walk.
UCA’s Kenzie Hill went 4-for-4 and Kynley Brewer scored two runs in the fourth-seeded Eagles’ 6-3 victory against fifth-seeded Randleman.