BY MICHAEL HELD
KENLY—One season ago, the North Johnston softball team went 20-6, gave eventual state runners-up South Granville a run for its money in the fourth round of the state playoffs and veteran coach Chris Batten dubbed it as being the best hitting team he’s had while at the school.
They have a chance to be even better this season.
The Panthers hosted Johnston County foe Corinth Holders last Wednesday night and their bats appeared to already be in mid-season form as they blasted the Pirates, 17-7.
Jada Santiago was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, hitting two homeruns and driving in seven runs and Lexi Godwin was 5-for-5 with six runs driven in. Overall, North Johnston pounded out 21 hits in the blowout win.
After Santiago and Godwin drove in the three runs in the bottom of the first inning, the Panthers added to the lead in the second frame, which was highlighted by Godwin’s three-run triple. Corinth Holders entered the top of the third trailing 7-0 after Hailey Medlin’s RBI single capped off the host’s scoring in the second.
The Pirates closed to within 11-6 after the top of the fifth thanks to a run-scoring double by Shanan Hester and a solo homerun from Rebecca Parker.
North Johnston’s bats never stopped however and continued to add to the lead. Santiago launched a pair of two-run homeruns, one in the fifth and one in the sixth, to help finish off Corinth Holders.
The Panthers scored at least one run in each inning and recorded no less than two hits in any inning over the course of the game.
Amberlynn Pearce earned the victory as she went the distance, striking out four batters in the process.
Lindsey Massengill was 3-for-3 and Hailey Medlin also recorded three hits on the night. Blayke Batten and Pearce also had multi-hit games with the pair each getting a base hit in the rout.
Batten knows how good his team could be offensively this season.
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