LOCUST — If you are going to win a district title, you might as well do it in style.
That is what the Rockingham Ponytails all-star team did Monday night.
Ragan Liles and Paige Ransom combined for a no-hitter in a 7-0 victory over West Stanly to claim the District 4 championship.
“Pitching is our strength,” Rockingham coach Matthew Liles said.
The duo combined to strike out 10 West Stanly batters in six innings. Ransom issued one walk in her four innings.
The Ponytails outscored the opposition 49-4 in their four games. In addition to having an advantage with its arms, Rockingham also used its legs to seize control of the contest against West Stanly.
Jadyn Johnson opened the bottom of the first with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Ragan Liles. Madison Jordan followed with a single to push across the team’s second run. On the play, Jordan was thrown out at second for the first out.
One inning later, Jakerra Covington slapped a hit down the third-base line and turned it into a double. After a ground out moved her to third, Covington scored on a single by Carley Lambeth. Later in the inning, Lambeth appeared to score on an error after moving to second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch. The umpire ruled Lambeth left third early on a pop-up by Ashlee Ogburn.
While Rockingham was finding ways to dent the plate on offense, West Stanly was unable to generate any of its own. The only batter to reach in the first three innings was on an error. Abbygail Efird was safe on an error to lead off the second, but was out on a fielder’s choice off the bat of McKenzie Kiker. Kiker was thrown out trying to steal.
Rockingham tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run double by Lambeth. She finished the game 2-of-2 with four runs batted in.
“Carley had some big hits,” Matthew Liles said. “We had a couple of girls hit some home runs during the tournament. Madison and Ragan hit home runs.”
The victory sends the Ponytails back to the state tournament. Last year, the Ponytails lost twice to Lumberton in Carthage. This year, the event will take place in Montgomery County.
Darlings fall in decisive game
The Rockingham Darlings all-star team needed to defeat North Stanly twice in order to win the district crown.
The squad accomplished the first half of the feat, edging North Stanly 11-9 in the first game. Officials had discussed having the teams return Tuesday, but the squads returned to the field Monday evening.
In the nightcap, North Stanly knocked off Rockingham 11-5 to claim the championship.
Angels rally to take down Anson
The Rockingham Angels rallied to score six runs in the top of the fifth to claim a 13-12 victory over Anson.
Rockingham trailed 12-6 after three innings and notched one run in the fourth to trim the deficit to five runs.
Rockingham managed only two hits in its game-winning rally.
Both teams have earned bids to the state tournament.
Rockingham to face South Stanly
The Rockingham AAA boys team was scheduled to face South Stanly in Siler City Monday night. The game hadn’t started at deadline.
Reach managing editor Shawn Stinson at 910-817-2671 and follow him on Twitter @scgolfer.