North Davidson sweeps Cape Fear to claim 4A softball state title
Posted June 3
Updated June 4
Greensboro, N.C. — North Davidson rallied back in the sixth inning after giving up a two-run lead to defeat Cape Fear, 3-2, and claim the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A softball state title for the first time since 2010.
Knights junior Sydney Snyder drilled a ball with two outs just past the outstretched shortstop and into center field, sending senior Autumn Stover across home plate for the game-winning run.
"Without the support of the team and the fans cheering, none of this would happen," Snyder said. "We knew we had to come back and fight. We never got down the whole game and we knew we could push through."
Knights head coach Mike Lambros – diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August of 2016 – earned his 878th career victory, the most among active coaches in North Carolina.
"You see these kids, [and] they're special; you see this community," Lambros said. "God blessed me 30 years ago, putting me in a great place, and that was North Davidson. It's been that way ever since I've been there and it's going to be that way forever.
"It's not about me; it's never been about me. I was just a part of that, and I got to be a part of a special ride that these kids took us on .... This is not only for this Black Knights, but it's for everybody that's ever put on, not only a softball uniform, but any uniform."
North Davidson scored in each of the first two innings Saturday morning, aided by two back-to-back leadoff doubles in each frame.
Senior Lydia Berkley single to score Faith Jarvis in the firs tinning, and junior Sydney Snyder crossed home plate in the send following two-straight groundouts for an early two-run lead.
Cape Fear rallied back to knot the game at 2-2 with a two-run sixth inning. Senior Haley Cashwell led off the inning with a single and reached home following an error, and fellow senior Bri Bryant ran across home plate to knot the game after a ground out.
But despite the Colts' counter punch, North Davidson found magic in the bat of Snyder in the latter half of the inning for the knockout blow.
Snyder singled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to score Autumn Stover the game-winning run and secure the victory for North Davidson.
"It means everything, because from the beginning of the season we've worked so hard to get this for Lambros," Snyder said. "Without the support of Lambros, and him always being there for us, this season is all for him."
Snyder was 2-for-3 from the plate on Saturday, finishing with the only multi-hit performance of the afternoon.
North Davidson freshman pitcher Regan Spencer was named the most valuable player of the championship series. Spencer tossed 5 2/3 innings Saturday, surrendering four hits, one earned run and struck out two batters. The standout freshman earned the complete-game shutout in the Knights' Game 1 win on Friday.
North Davidson senior reliever Katie Mcneill replaced Spencer in the sixth inning and retired the final four outs of the contest to earn the win, striking out two batters along the way.
Cape Fear reached the 4A championship series for the third time in the last four seasons. The Colts have been swept in each trip. Cape Fear hasn't won a softball title since claiming the slow pitch championship in 1978.
"It's always in the back of your mind that it's the third time around," said Cape Fear manager Jeff McPhail. "You've got to have a little luck on your side, to make a play or two here. The ball just didn't bounce our way at the end of the game.
"The only thing we can do is just come back. Hopefully we can come back next year and figure out how to win this thing."