A look back at spring sports: Softball

High school sports roundup

Alyssa Cascavilla led the Bucks in runs scored and showed she’s willing to take the ball and pitch in an emergency. She’s just a junior, so the team will be under her senior leadership next year. (Photo courtesy HCHS Bucks Softball Facebook page)

Now that the spring high school seasons have wrapped up, we’ll take a look at how Hoke’s teams performed, and their outlook going forward. We’ll start this week with softball.

This year

The Bucks won four of their first five games coming out of the game and had another early stretch with six wins in seven games. Conference play presented a challenge, however, as Hoke went just 4-8 in the Sandhills and lost six of their last seven games for an 11-11 record and a first-round playoff loss. Still, it was a big step forward over last season’s 7-16 mark and one conference win. Other than a 2-0 record before the 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID, it’s just the second non-losing season for the Bucks since 2018.

Top performers

The Bucks’ pitching was handled by the two-person team of senior Adriana Miller and freshman Niya Jones. Offense was truly a team game, with a whole host of contributors. Brianna Harrell led the way with a .394 average, Alyssa Cascavilla led with 22 runs, while McKenzie Freeman was the hit leader, with 29. Kalea Parker took the RBI crown, with 19, and Natalie Knowlton led the way with 8 steals. (Stats all based on MaxPreps team reporting, which may be incomplete.)

Saying goodbye

The good news for Hoke County is that most of the team leaders were underclassmen. The biggest loss on the field will be Miller, who handled the heavier workload on the mound, pitching 87 of 138 innings. Jones showed she was capable of filling the spot of lead pitcher, but the team will need to find someone to support her, especially because Jones was so solid at the plate, as well. Cascavilla, who stepped in as a spot starter one game this season, due to injuries, showed she’s capable of being the second pitcher, if no newcomers can seize the job.

Building blocks

Jones is a freshman, as is Freeman, giving the team two promising talents for years to come. Most of the other stars—Cascavilla, Harrell, Knowlton, Chayna Locklear, Chica Amador and this week’s AOTW, Bailey Moss, are juniors, meaning that next year could be a breakthrough season for what will be a senior-laden team.