North Augusta softball wins 1st state title in program history

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 11:38 PM EDT
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FORT MILL, SC (WRDW/WAGT) - The North Augusta softball team beat Catawba Ridge 8-0 Wednesday, sweeping the SCHSL 4A state championship series for the program’s first title.

The Yellow Jacket bats were quiet through the first two innings, but Audri Bates woke them up in the third. Bates, who struggled much of the postseason, hit a two-out, two-run home run to open the scoring. Bates blew a little kiss to the Copperhead student section after touching home.

“I was in a little bit of a hitting slump since playoffs, but I wanted to make this special for my team,” Bates said. “I wanted to pull through and I wanted to get things going. It’s always a domino effect.”

It was a domino effect for North Augusta. Later in the inning, Navaeh Ross got on base, and Haidyn Hutto brought her home with an RBI double.

The Jackets would get the lead up to 8-0, and that would be more than enough for Katelyn Cochran. Cochran pitched another gem, and ended the season with her 900th career strikeout.

North Augusta went on to win 8-0, bringing home the title.

It was a fitting end to a great season, and an illustrious career for head coach Craig Gilstrap. Gilstrap is retiring at the end of the year, so he’s going out a champion as well.

“I love this school. I’m so proud of the seniors,” Gilstrap said, fighting back tears. “It’s a testament to those girls. That senior class, they refused to lose.”

“It feels amazing. We had all eyes on us, and we’ve never been able to do it,” said Cochran. “But tonight, we showed who North Augusta was, and we played North Augusta softball tonight. The whole team. Every girl played their heart out tonight.”

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