2021 high school softball preview with Gaston Christian, Gaston Day baseball (and day-by-day 2021 schedule)

By Richard Walker

Since the COVID pandemic ended the 2020 season after less than two weeks of play, area high school softball teams are eager to get back on the diamonds.

Crest and Lincoln Charter will look to extend long conference winning streaks and are favorites to win the Big South 3A Conference and Southern Piedmont 1A conferences, respectively.

Crest has a 34-game conference winning streak that dates to April 2017. Lincoln Charter has won 23 straight league games that dates to March 2018.

Other local league favorites are R-S Central in the Southwestern 2A and East Lincoln in the South Fork 2A.

Here are the preview capsules, by conference, for local high school softball teams for the 2021 season with a composite schedule at bottom. Also included are the Gaston Christian and Gaston Day baseball capsules since they also have started their seasons while the public school counterparts don’t start until next month:


no information submitted
Comment: Green Wave seek first playoff berth since 2012.

Head coach: James Brown (1st year)
Assistant coach: Becca Hill
Returning players: OF Madison Freeman, OF Skylar Hooker, OF Regan Lavinder, 2B/SS Andrea Detweiler, OF Braley Hamilton, P/SS Payton Conroy, 3B/P Emma Donaldson, SS/3B Delani Wilson
Top newcomers: OF Colleen Grealis, 1B/2B/C Addy Marr, C/OF Madison Lee
Comment: With six returning starters, the Storm will seek to extend their streak of postseason appearances to seven years.

Head coach: Greg Earl (20th year)
Assistant coaches: Tracy Beaver, Erin Bryant, Sierra Warren, Kaylee Wacaster
Returning players: IF/OF/P Addie Beaver, IF/C Savannah Center, IF/P Sierra Crocker, IF/P Mackenzie Hayes, IF/OF Jaylen Ledbetter, IF/P Autumn McCurry, OF/C Morgan McCurry, OF/P Riley Parker, IF Laney Jo Patterson, OF Vaniyah Petty, IF Alexis Shope, OF Kamryn Spangler
Top newcomers: OF Molly Beam, OF Taylor Black, IF/OF Makenzie Clark, IF/OF Adrian Cook, IF Jourdan Martin, IF Sara Rose Warlick
Comment: With seven returning starters, Crest looks poised to win another league title and extend its long league winning streak.

Head coach: Kevin Baker (11th year)
Assistant coach: Kevin Gordon
Returning players: IF Abbey Curtis, 1B Alex Horne, Utility Olivia Mills, P Carson Upton, C Lily Smith, IF Madison Brown, SS Bryn Bumgardner, OF Lili Marr, 1B/OF Kaitlyn Barnes, 3B/OF Karson Sloop
Top newcomers: IF/OF Blair Riley, IF/OF Megan Baker, IF/OF Carli Chavis
Comment: Eight starters return for the Jaguars, who seek their first postseason appearance since 2017.

no information submitted
Comment: Huskies seek first playoff berth since 2014.

Kings Mountain
Head coach: Kevin Cruise (5th year)
Assistant coaches: Jeff Cloninger, Shon Macopson, Cassi King
Returning players: 1B Jenna Ramsey, SS/P Andrea Melton, OF/3B Monica Head, OF Alayna Patrick, C Austyn Dixon
Top newcomer: P/SS Kali Weaver
Comment: Mountaineers have made a Cleveland County-record 16 straight playoff appearances.

North Gaston
no information submitted
Comment: Wildcats have made the state playoffs for six straight seasons.


Head coach: Joni Wellmon (3rd year)
Assistant coaches: Tracy Gardo, Imone Howze
Returning players: CF Maura Pendleton, SS Jaycee Bivins, P/IF Sayge Strange
Top newcomers: none listed
Comment: Bulldogs are seeking first postseason appearance since 2015.

East Gaston
no information submitted
Comment: Warriors are seeking first postseason appearance since 2018.

Head coach: Haley Hoyle (4th year)
Assistant coaches: Joey Barrett, Richard Cogdill, Alan Heavner
Returning players: P Brooklin Heavner, C Faythe Bowles, LF Nicole Camp, 2B Carolina Grajales, 1B Yahreia Peeler, 3B Ann Marie Spurling
Top newcomers: RF Cate Oliver, SS Abby Clary, CF Kaidence Miller
Comment: With six returning starters, Shelby will pursue its first-ever state playoff berth.

South Point
Head coach: Leah Brooks (7th year)
Assistant coach: George Kitchen
Returning players: P Hailey Franks, IF Asheton Queen, IF Ashleigh Burns, IF Courtney Leach, OF Claudia Baucom, OF Jordan Coffey, OF Reagan Hollifield, IF Lauren Downey, IF Kendal Martin, OF Hatsue McQuay, OF Katie Hovis
Top newcomers: OF Ashlea Wilson
Comment: Red Raiders seek to return to playoffs for first time since they made 12 straight appearances from 2006 to 2017.



East Lincoln
Head coach: Mike Freeman (12th year)
Assistant coaches: Roger Wilson, Chris Crowe
Returning players: P Payton Baker, 3B Katie Hogue, 2B Katelynn Crowe, C Betsy Eatmon, SS Jaelyn Freeston, 1B Bailey Hardin, CF Taliyah Thomas, LF Tori Venters
Top newcomers: RF Tatum Martin, 1B/DH Madison Currence
Comment: Mustangs have six returning starters and hope to extend playoff streak to 11 years.

no information submitted
Comment: Wolves seek first postseason appearance since 2009.

North Lincoln
no information submitted
Comment: Knights have made the playoffs 16 straight times – or every year the school has been open.

West Lincoln
Head coach: Allan Chapman (4th year)
Assistant coaches: Allen Hoyle, Ron Walls, Dallas Bridges, Natalie Beam
Returning players: SS Morgan Chapman, 2B Emma Bumgarner, 1B Etta Godfrey, 3B Conner Avery, Utility Kayla Wehunt
Top newcomers: CF Eva Williams, 3B Gracie Elmore, C Bailey Huss, C Carolina Robinson
Comment: Rebels seek to extend their postseason streak to 15 years.


Bessemer City
no information submitted
Comment: Yellow Jackets hope to return to the playoffs for 10th time in 11 years after missing out in 2019.

Head coach: Callie Hahn (interim coach in 2nd year overall)
Assistant coach: Brian Kiser
Returning players: Faith Anthony, Harlee Austin, Elizabeth Levine, Marigrace Moyer, Amber Roach, Raegan Nowoweicki, Aleigha Whisnant, Rileigh Kiser, Kaitlyn Newsome
Top newcomers: Riley Bryant, Laila Davis
Comment: With six starters returning, Ironmen seek the school’s 24th playoff appearance in 25 years.

Highland Tech
no information submitted
Comment: Rams made playoffs 11 of 12 seasons before missing out in 2019.

Lincoln Charter
no information submitted
Comment: Eagles made 10 straight playoff appearances and won 78 of their last 80 league games since 2014.

Piedmont Community Charter
Head coach: Kristen White (1st year)
Assistant coaches: Kerry McMicheal, Matthew East
Returning players: Jayden East, Kaylah Hannibal, Madison Clark, Emma Downey, Kaylee Treadway, Sanii Erwin, Mya Tharp, Grace East
Top newcomers: Suzie Rhodes, Marie Mastik, Abigale Harris, Ella Lee, Lauren French, Annabelle Stump, Rubyyonna Peprah, Zoey Parham
Comment: The Patriots have seven returning starters back as they pursue a first-ever state playoff berth.


Mountain Island Charter
Head coach: Eric Brown (1st year)
Assistant coach: Joe Hatzopoulos
Returning players: C Lawson Gerland, SS Chloe Hatzopoulos, OF Sydney Thrower, Utility Kaylan Brown, 2B Camden Gerland, OF Elizabeth Knutson, 1B/3B Nora Bryant, OF Elle Hatzopoulos, OF Aubrey White
Top newcomers: 1B/P Kylee Addington, C Lily Helms, OF Makenna Butlak
Comment: Raptors have the playoffs in each of their first three seasons.



Gaston Christian
no information submitted
Comment: The Eagles have made 20 straight playoff appearances and were 2018 state champions and 2019 state runner-up.


Prep baseball

Gaston Christian
no information submitted
Comment: Eagles made their first playoff appearance since 2010 in the 2019 season.

Gaston Day
Head coach: Chris Carrara (6th year)
Assistant coaches: Troy Herterick, Scott Harbin, Kyle Obal, Steve Pressley
Returning players: P/OF Aidan Smith, CF/IF Zach Clark, C Holden Page, DH/Utility Harrison Johnson, P/1B Brett Pressley, P/IF Jason Johnson, P/IF Elijah Pomeroy, OF Colin Fayed, OF/IF Four Heilig
Top newcomers: OF/P Carter Roberts
Comment: Eight starters return for the Spartans against a challenging schedule as they pursue a second straight playoff berth.


Day-by-day high school softball schedules:

Tuesday, March 2
Charlotte Country Day at Gaston Christian

Friday, March 5
Gaston Christian at SouthLake Christian

Tuesday, March 9
Gaston Christian at Metrolina Christian

Monday, March 15
Cherryville at Chase
Cramer at Kings Mountain
Forestview at Crest
North Gaston at Huss
Shelby at East Gaston
South Point at Burns

Tuesday, March 16
Bandys at North Lincoln
East Lincoln at Newton-Conover
Highland Tech at West Lincoln
Lincolnton at Maiden
Metrolina Christian at Lincoln Charter
Mountain Island Charter at Union Academy
SouthLake Christian at Gaston Christian
West Lincoln at Lake Norman Charter

Wednesday, March 17
Ashbrook at Forestview
Chase at Burns
Crest at Cramer
East Gaston at South Point
East Rutherford at Cherryville
Huss at Hickory
Kings Mountain at North Gaston
R-S Central at Shelby

Thursday, March 18
Bessemer City at Highland Tech
Lake Norman Charter at West Lincoln
Maiden at Lincolnton
Newton-Conover at East Lincoln
North Lincoln at Bandys
Union Academy at Mountain Island Charter

Monday, March 22
Ashbrook at Crest
Burns at East Rutherford
Cramer at Cherryville
East Gaston at R-S Central
Huss at Kings Mountain
Lincoln Charter at Charlotte Christian
North Gaston at Forestview
Shelby at Chase

Tuesday, March 23
Bradford Prep at Mountain Island Charter
East Lincoln at Lincolnton
East Rutherford at South Point
Highland Tech at Piedmont Community Charter
Maiden at West Lincoln
North Lincoln at Lake Norman Charter

Wednesday, March 24
Ashbrook at Kings Mountain
Burns at Shelby
Chase at East Gaston
Cramer at North Gaston
Crest at Huss
South Point at Forestview

Thursday, March 25
Concord Academy at Gaston Christian
Lake Norman Charter at North Lincoln
Lincolnton at East Lincoln
R-S Central at Cherryville
St. Stephens at Bessemer City
West Lincoln at Maiden

Friday, March 26
Mountain Island Charter at Bradford Prep

Monday, March 29
Burns at East Gaston
Cramer at Ashbrook
Forestview at Huss
Lincoln Charter at Highland Tech
North Gaston at Crest
Shelby at Kings Mountain
South Point at R-S Central

Tuesday, March 30
East Lincoln at North Lincoln
Gaston Christian at Hickory Grove Christian
Queen’s Grant at Mountain Island Charter
West Lincoln at Newton-Conover

Wednesday, March 31
Ashbrook at North Gaston
Burns at Crest
Cherryville at Highland Tech
Huss at Cramer
Kings Mountain at Forestview
Piedmont Community Charter at Bessemer City
Shelby at South Point

Thursday, April 1
Bessemer City at Lincoln Charter
East Gaston at East Rutherford
Metrolina Christian at Gaston Christian
Newton-Conover at West Lincoln
North Lincoln at East Lincoln

Friday, April 2
Mountain Island Charter at Queen’s Grant

Monday, April 5
Crest at Kings Mountain
East Rutherford at Shelby
Forestview at Cramer
Huss at Ashbrook
R-S Central at Burns
South Point at Chase

Tuesday, April 6
East Lincoln at Bandys
Maiden at North Lincoln
Lincolnton vs. West Lincoln

Wednesday, April 7
Burns at South Point
Crest at Forestview
East Gaston at Shelby
Huss at North Gaston
Kings Mountain at Cramer

Thursday, April 8
Bandys at East Lincoln
Bessemer City at Highland Tech
North Lincoln at Maiden
Lincolnton vs. West Lincoln

Monday, April 12
Burns at Chase
Forestview at Ashbrook
Hickory at Huss
Highland Tech at Cherryville
North Gaston at Kings Mountain
Shelby at R-S Central
South Point at East Gaston

Tuesday, April 13
Bandys at West Lincoln
Cherryville at Bessemer City
Cramer at Crest
East Lincoln at Maiden
High Point Christian at Gaston Christian
Mountain Island Charter at Pine Lake Prep
Newton-Conover at North Lincoln

Wednesday, April 14
Chase at Shelby
Crest at Ashbrook
East Rutherford at Burns
Forestview at North Gaston
Highland Tech at Lincoln Charter
Kings Mountain at Huss
R-S Central at East Gaston

Thursday, April 15
Bessemer City at Piedmont Community Charter
Cramer at Robinson
Maiden at East Lincoln
North Lincoln at Newton-Conover
Pine Lake Prep at Mountain Island Charter
West Lincoln at Bandys

Sunday, April 18
East Rutherford at Cherryville

Monday, April 19
East Gaston at Chase
Gaston Christian at Forsyth Country Day
Huss at Crest
Kings Mountain at Ashbrook
North Gaston at Cramer
Shelby at Burns
South Point at East Rutherford

Tuesday, April 20
East Lincoln at West Lincoln
Gaston Christian at Concord Academy
Highland Tech at Cherryville
Langtree Charter at Mountain Island Charter
Lincoln Charter at Bessemer City
Lincolnton at North Lincoln

Wednesday, April 21
Ashbrook at Cramer
Crest at North Gaston
East Gaston at Burns
Huss at Forestview
Kings Mountain at Shelby
North Lincoln at Lincolnton
R-S Central at South Point
West Lincoln at East Lincoln

Thursday, April 22
Forsyth Country Day at Gaston Christian
Piedmont Community Charter at Highland Tech

Friday, April 23
Mountain Island Charter at Langtree Charter

Monday, April 26
Cramer at Huss
East Rutherford at East Gaston
Forestview at Kings Mountain
Lincoln Charter at Pine Lake Prep
North Gaston at Ashbrook
South Point at Shelby

Tuesday, April 27
Highland Tech at Bessemer City
Lake Norman Charter at East Lincoln
Lincolnton vs. Newton-Conover
Mountain Island Charter at Community School of Davidson
North Lincoln at West Lincoln

Wednesday, April 28
Ashbrook at Huss
Burns at R-S Central
Chase at South Point
Cramer at Forestview
East Gaston at North Gaston
Kings Mountain at Crest
Shelby at East Rutherford

Thursday, April 29
Bessemer City at Cherryville
East Lincoln at Lake Norman Charter
Highland Tech at Burns
Lincolnton vs. Newton-Conover
South Caldwell at Crest
West Lincoln at North Lincoln

Friday, April 30
Community School of Davidson at Mountain Island Charter