Cowgirls race past Grimsley in Metro tourney opener

May 1—HIGH POINT — Southwest Guilford started its postseason on the right note.

The second-seeded Cowgirls generated plenty of offense at the plate, had minimal trouble in the field and rolled past seventh-seeded Grimsley 21-1 in three innings Tuesday at Southwest in the opening round of the Metro 4A Conference softball tournament.

"You can't have an off game right now," Southwest coach Derek Murphy said. "Mainly, they've just got to come out and give it their all. They did much better job at the plate than we did against them a week or two ago.

"We had a much better approach, and we had some really timely hits. Most of the girls had good patience at the plate, were looking for strikes. So, yeah, it was a good start out of the box. And the girls needed that, just having a good game."

The Cowgirls totaled 14 hits for the game. Caroline Christman went 3 for 3 with four RBIs, while Makayla Stefanik and Amelia Stewart had matching two-hit performances that included a double and three RBIs. Sachiko Price added a double and two RBIs, and Aniya Harris had two hits and an RBI.

"I think we played pretty good," said Stefanik, a junior catcher. "We got on them in the first inning, so it was really good."

Southwest (19-4) won for the 11th time in 13 games — its only blips coming against state power Northwest Guilford, which went undefeated in conference play. Two strong innings powered the Cowgirls' outburst — including a 19-batter first inning in which they tallied 16 runs on nine hits, including three for extra bases. They added five runs in the second as a handful of reserved got at-bats.

"Hitting is very contagious," Stefanik said. "Games where the top half of the lineup isn't hitting, then usually the bottom half isn't either. But I've noticed if the top half goes, then bottom half goes; or if the bottom half goes, then the top half goes.

"I think that score, just seeing the way it is, I think it's just going to help us going into (Wednesday) with way more confidence. So, hopefully it carries over."

Southwest got a mix of hits, walks and hit-by-pitches, then capitalized on opportunities to move runners. And suddenly a couple of hits scored runs in droves. The near constant pressure was too much for the Whirlies (5-13), especially as Christman and the defense limited chances on the other side.

Christman finished with five strikeouts in earning the complete-game win. She allowed one unearned run on one hit and two walks. She did work herself into a tight spot in the top of the first, loading the bases with one out. But she struck out back-to-back batters to end the threat and the offense took it from there.

"She worked it all out, and she's been managing it pretty well," Murphy said.

The Cowgirls, seeking their first tournament title since 2021, advanced to face third-seeded Northern Guilford on Wednesday night. The winner of that game will face either top-seeded Northwest Guilford or fourth-seeded Southeast Guilford in the championship Friday at the higher seed.

The state playoffs will begin next week.

"It's been a really great run for us, a great season," Murphy said. "We've had some really good practices lately. We were focused yesterday. We feel good about this week, feel good going in against Northern. If we put the bat on the ball and our defense is there, it'll be a good chance for us to move on."