Off and running.
In fact, practically everything on a positive front took place with the North Carolina team -once again featuring Mooresville-based talent - in its initial appearance in earlier this week’s ongoing Little League Softball World Series.
The squad home-based out of nearby Salisbury came within a pitch of registering a perfect game before settling with a 7-0 triumph over Eastbank Little League in the Little League Softball World Series debut for both teams.
The team features players from bordering Rowan County and Iredell County on its roster courtesy of a Little League Softball charter that covers the surrounding area.
Officially, North Carolina is the Southeast Region representative while the Louisiana-based entry hailing from River Ridge, Louisiana, carries with it the Southwest Region territorial bragging rights.
Play in the attraction is once again taking place at the Alpenrose Stadium site in Portland, Oregon, the established permanent home of the yearly competition that draws teams comprised of players 12 years and age and younger from across the globe.
Mooresville area players figured prominently in the successful opening process in pool play, none of them perhaps more so than the one standing out in the pitcher’s circle.
Mooresville Middle School eighth-grader Campbell Schaen may be missing some early in-class time with school already underway within the Mooresville Graded School District, but she is definitely the one doing the teaching so far in the pitching department. The lefthander failed to allow a run and did not give up a hit nor issue a single base on balls while also chalking up 11 strikeouts to her individual account. Only a fielding error with two outs and two strikes on the batter in the bottom of the sixth inning prevented Schaen from posting the perfect game.
Offensively, Schaen was also among her strongest supporters. She collected one of the winning team’s seven hits and also scored one of its seven runs.
Fellow area product Avrelle Harrell also added a base hit to the mix, with leadoff hitter Lauren Vanderpool scoring two times and also being credited with two RBI. In a pinch-hitter role, Cadence Lane connected on a pitch that resulted in bringing a teammate home as well.
Other players on the team all hailing from Rowan County include: Ashley Yang, Arabelle Shulenburger, Lexie Ritchie, Carmen Freeze, Riley Haggas, Kynlee Dextraze, Kassidy Sechler, Andie Evans, Kennedi Fisher and EmmaRae Cline.
The N.C. crew, representing the area for the fourth time in the past five LLSWS events and seeking the organization’s second title since 2015, busted matters wide open with the scoring of six runs in the top half of the third inning. The Southeast champions plated a final run in the top of the fourth.
Pool play continues to take place through the weekend. Following a scheduled off day, North Carolina was slated to complete that phase of play with consecutive-day games on tap against the Europe-Africa Region winner Italy, the host Oregon entry, and the Canadian Regional representative. Results from those games were all posted too late to be included in this edition.
Once pool play is completed, each of the top four finishing teams in the two five-member groups will advance on into the double-elimination phase of play that will begin Monday and continue through the crowning of this year’s Little League Softball World Series champion scheduled to take place later in the week.
All of the games are also being internationally televised live on the ESPN network of broadcast outlets.