• Mitchell High School softball senior pitcher Kaitlyn Sparks pitched a complete game and struck out eight in a 13-8 win over the Vikings. (Photo submitted)
    Mitchell High School softball senior pitcher Kaitlyn Sparks pitched a complete game and struck out eight in a 13-8 win over the Vikings. (Photo submitted)

Mountaineers claim first win of season

Softball team notches 13-8 victory over rival Avery

NEWLAND – Mitchell High School’s softball team has broken into the win column.

The Mountaineers won their first game of the 2019 season Friday, April 19, by defeating Avery County 13-8 on the road. 

The win snapped the program’s 21-game losing streak that began after a 17-7 home win over Hendersonville April 12, 2018.

First-year head coach Kyle Lanning said the win was a special one for his players, who have all worked hard and were ready to see the fruits of their labor. 

“It was a long time coming,” Lanning said. “We worked hard. A lot of things went right for us.”

Senior pitcher Kaitlyn Sparks was one of the biggest “rights” for Lanning in the win over the Vikings as she pitched a complete game and struck out eight. 

Behind Sparks’ strong effort, the Mitchell bats came alive. Every player in the lineup scored at least one run. 

“We played it inning by inning and tried to manufacture at least one run every inning,” Lanning said. “We were hitting the ball and finding spots.”

Mitchell’s strongest inning was a five-run surge in the top of the third inning. Lanning said a slightly modified late-season lineup has his team producing more runs. 

“We’ve made some changes,” Lanning said. “We have some players who have been producing for us hitting higher in the order.”

Lanning said the win, and any other wins they can earn as the season winds down, are critical for the confidence of his young team. The team will graduate just one senior from this year’s roster.  

“The late-season wins are going to be the most memorable for us,” Lanning said. “We’re a sophomore-rich team, and we’re looking forward to next season. If we can still taste these wins and remember those things we did right, I think it will carry over to next season.”

The MItchell News

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