Mariah Harris played as a freshman and sophomore for West Craven’s varsity softball team prior to missing last season.
Back, as a senior, the left-handed pitcher hopes to guide the Eagles into the postseason — a destination with which most of the players are unfamiliar.
Harris was dominant on the mound as West Craven shut out Havelock 3-0 on Thursday. It was the Eagles’ first victory over the Rams in softball in many years.
“It’s a great feeling,” Harris said. “I wasn’t able to be out here for them last year, and now I am. This felt real good.”
Harris dazzled from the start. She had a no-hitter going until two outs in the fifth inning when Havelock’s Emily Bowman drove a base hit past the right side of West Craven’s defense.
“I was kind of nervous about it because once someone speaks of a no-hitter, it goes otherwise,” Harris said. “That’s what happened, but I didn’t let it get to me.”
Harris yielded three hits and struck out nine. She walked one and hit a batter.
West Craven (5-7, 4-4 Coastal), which moves into fourth place in the Coastal Conference, scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first.
Freshman Courtney Pierre led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a hit by Harris. Senior Rachel Riggs followed with a two-out RBI single, and then Harris eventually scored on a wild pitch.
The Eagles, who stranded eight runners on base and had seven hits, threatened in the second inning. But, with the bases loaded and power hitter Courtney Donnell at the plate, Havelock shortstop Malorie Rowe made an over-the-shoulder catch in the shallow outfield, preventing runners from scoring.
West Craven added an insurance run in the sixth inning when Rendi Wetherington’s sacrifice fly drove home Robin Dail.
“It’s a big game for the program, but it’s a really big win for the kids,” said West Craven coach David Fernandez. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them.
“These girls have come together as a team over the past couple weeks.”
Wetherington led the Eagles’ offense with two hits and an RBI. Dail, Riggs, Harris, Bailey Anderson and Donnell all singled.
“We are all producing throughout the lineup,” Harris said. “We are all an asset at the plate. The top of the lineup is responsible for starting the game. We get on base, run and score.”
Havelock pitcher Mercedes Hargett took the loss on the mound. She allowed two runs on four hits with four walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Bowman, Niesha Nolan and Ashlyn Gosnell had hits for the Rams.
Havelockis next scheduled to play White Oak Tuesday at Havelock High, with the junior varsity starting at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity to follow.