All-County softball: Haley Pace leads the way
Wed. June 04, 2014 at 10:42 p.m. | By Mike Duprez
North Davidson’s Haley Pace is the The Dispatch 2014 All-County Player of the Year. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)
North Davidson’s Haley Pace was a high school softball player who made things happen whether they showed up in the box score or were more of an intangible nature.
The senior shortstop just completed a senior year in which she hit an astounding .490 with 35 RBIs as the Knights won their first 30 games of the season before falling to Alexander Central, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation in the USA Today/NFCA poll, in the 4-A state semifinals.
In recognition of another outstanding season, Pace has been named the 2014 Dispatch All-Davidson County Player of the Year.
“I think she is the best player in the county,” said longtime North coach Mike Lambros.
Pace, who has signed with UNC-Charlotte, was productive in every way. She had an on-base percentage of .555 and a slugging percentage of .656. Her on-base plus slugging (OPS) was an eye-popping 1.212. She was also productive on the basepaths with nine steals in 10 attempts.
But it’s the leadership that Pace provided, more than anything else, that gave the Knights a spark that carried them to their usual deep run in the state playoffs.
“She did a good job in the offseason with the other seniors,” Lambros said. “They all bonded together and her personality drove that. She came up big in numerous games. Steady, a player I never had to get on for any reason. Didn’t miss a practice.”
Pace also was a part of one of the season’s most unusual plays, advancing to third base with the umpire holding the base in his hands in the second round of the playoffs against Glenn. The play was still live and Pace was allowed to stay at third.
“How many kids do you know who would do that?” Lambros said. “The umpire had the base. It wasn’t even in the ground. That’s an example of the kind of player she is.”
Here is a look at the rest of the All-County team:
Destiny DeBerry, junior, outfielder, Ledford — A leadoff hitter with blazing speed, DeBerry hit .442 and was a perfect 26-for-26 in stolen bases. DeBerry, who has committed to North Carolina, had 20 RBIs and was an excellent defensive center fielder. She was named player of the year in the Mid-Piedmont Conference.
Bre Crumley, senior, outfielder, North Davidson — Crumley batted .485, second best on the team, and had 27 RBIs.
Maggie Fritts, senior, outfielder, North Davidson — Fritts hit .403 with a team-leading three home runs. She also had 21 RBIs.
Casey Stanek, junior, infielder, North Davidson — A powerful line drive hitter, Stanek batted .376 with 28 RBIs. She was also the team’s No. 2 pitcher.
Mackenzie Cranford, junior, infielder, Ledford — A slick-fielding shortstop, Cranford hit .403 with 20 RBIs.
Bailey Jones, junior, infielder, East Davidson — The Central Carolina Conference player of the year hit .429 with 10 RBIs.
Brooklyn Hopkins, junior, infielder, East Davidson — Hopkins successfully made the transition from second base to shortstop and hit .435.
Hailey Cole, sophomore, designated player, North Davidson — The Black Knights’ leadoff hitter batted .385 and had a team-leading 13 stolen bases.
Megan Hayworth, sophomore, flex, Ledford — A versatile player, Hayworth hit .369 and was 19-4 as a pitcher with a 2.19 ERA.
Jessie Hayworth, senior, catcher, Ledford — Hayworth hit .397 with 10 RBIs. She committed just three errors.
Mackenzie Comer, junior, flex, Central Davidson — Comer hit .352 and was the Spartans’ No. 2 pitcher with a 3.13 ERA.
Carson Pace, sophomore, pitcher, North Davidson — The Knights’ ace was 21-2 with a 1.31 ERA and 192 strikeouts in 144 innings.
Danielle Hunt, sophomore, pitcher, South Davidson — Hunt was 7-9 with a 2.80 ERA in a strong Yadkin Valley Conference. She recorded 150 strikeouts in just 95 innings.
Honorable mention: Bayley Plummer, Andrea Grant, Morgan Key, Brooke Walser, East Davidson; Erin Crotts, Ledford; Kylie Ward, Josie Jones, Cassie Fortner, Alyson Warfford, Central Davidson; Casey Coble, Tori Ridenhour, Bekah Hudson, West Davidson; Sierra Vanzant, Katie Taylor, North Davidson.
Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Mike on Twitter:@LexDispatch_md