MOORESVILLE – Mooresville softball ended the I-Meck 4A conference tournament the same way the season started – with a walk-off solo home run on its home field.
With two outs and the score tied at 2 against Lake Norman May 2, junior Imara Harrell launched an Amber Lacosto pitch over the left-field fence to win the conference championship. It was Harrell’s second hit of the night, and came on the heels of teammate Olivia Marshall being thrown out at second on a steal attempt.
“We were trying to get one girl on and slide her over,” Mooresville coach Paul Kikta said amid his team’s celebration after the game. “I thought she was safe on the steal, but it is what it is. We just wanted to give ourselves a chance. Lake Norman had the top of the order up in the eighth, so that was big for us to end it right there.”
Sophomore pitcher Kali Morton struck out seven Lake Norman batters and yielded as many hits.
Wildcats senior pitcher Amber Locasto had four strikeouts, only giving up six hits.
The final game wrapped up a busy day for both teams. In semifinal contests held earlier on May 2, second-seeded Lake Norman defeated Hough 7-2 with freshman Linda Moore in the circle and Mooresville made quick work of North Mecklenburg winning 15-0.
The two Mooresville schools dominated the rest of the conference for much of the season, and the teams split during the regular season.
“l told the girls, this is like once every seven years you get the tournament at your place,” Kikta said. “This was a key win for them.”
The I-Meck title moved the Blue Devils, also the league’s top team in the regular-season, to 23-3 overall, leading to a first-round bye in the state playoffs. And given his team’s flair for the dramatic, Kikta is confident his girls are battle-tested as they advance in the postseason.
“I’ve told the girls, we’ve been in all sorts of situations,” he said. “We’ve been down four runs and come back and won. We’ve been up early, so there’s no quit in this team. They know they can do it anyway possible.”
The Blue Devils will host I-Meck foe Hough Friday, May 10. The Huskies (14-6) won on a walk-off home run themselves in the first round May 7 over Davie County. During the regular season, Mooresville prevailed 7-6 in extra innings over the Huskies in the teams’ first game, then won by a more-comfortable margin April 2, 14-8.
Lake Norman (18-7) defeated McDowell County in the first round May 7 3-0, before losing a second-round matchup 10-0 to Hickory Ridge May 10.
Last season, the Blue Devils reached the regional semifinals losing to state runner-up South Caldwell.