By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Southern Alamance gained plenty from Friday’s 4-1 softball victory against visiting Durham Jordan.
Most of all, the Lady Patriots were happy how they handled a competitive game.
“It was good to have a closer game,” shortstop Greta Hessentahler said. “I enjoy having competition. You had to be focused more. Kind of keeps us on our toes.”
Southern has cruised in DAC-VII Conference games, winning all nine such outings by a combined score of 151-4.
Coach Jon Russell has tried to schedule stiff non-conference games, but weather issues and scheduling snags have interfered. Three such games were nixed last week, including a rematch with North Davidson.
“We need competitive games,” Russell said. “We want to be pushed. We want to be pushed in a competitive atmosphere.”
So defeating Durham Jordan, whose only previous DAC-VII loss came by 21-2 at home to Southern, by a narrow margin turned out to be a good thing.
Southern pitcher Rylee Humble had to dodge a couple of jams, including with a runner on third base with no outs in one inning and the potential tying run coming to the plate in the seventh.
“It was a little bit (of pressure),” Humble said. “I was doing my best to not (let it be close). It’s more entertaining.”
One threat from Durham Jordan (13-4, 8-2) was doused in part by first baseman Ava Duggins making a diving catch of a foul ball.
“We played clean defense,” Duggins said. “That’s one of our stronger suits.”
Humble, a junior, has been in control in most games this season.
“She wants to do a good job for herself and her teammates,” Russell said.
Southern scored a run in the first inning and three more in the fifth.
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The Patriots were the Class 3-A state champions in 2021, when there was a shortened season because of the pandemic after most of the 2020 season was cancelled. Since then, Southern has moved back to Class 4-A.
In the past seven full seasons, the Patriots have collected 20 or more wins every year.
Going into the last week of the regular season, Southern (13-3 overall) can clinch the DAC-VII championship with another victory. The closer-than-normal result Friday was deemed a positive from the Patriots’ perspective.
“This is good for us,” Russell said. “Playoffs are right around the corner.”