Warlassies look toward playoffs, Owen baseball served heavy defeat from rival Madison

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Senior Briggs Barker sends a grounder toward left field against Madison on May 3.

Owen softball and baseball faced off against Madison High on May 3. One of the home teams secured victory.

Warlassies likely to enter the playoffs

In a dramatic finish, the Owen softball team narrowly clinched a 1-0 victory over Madison on May 3, securing the Warlassies third place in conference and likely sending them to the playoffs.

Owen now holds an overall record of 12-5. 

"We're pretty excited," said coach Pete Ledford. "Especially excited from beating Madison for the second time all season. We pretty much locked up third place."

Freshman Sophia Neal scored the only run of the game to ensure the win, stealing third base then making the run to home from an overthrown ball on an attempt to stop the steal.

Shortstop Ryleigh Ogle leads the Warlassies with a .429 batting average, followed by pitcher Addison Bartlett with .321. Neal leads the team with an on base percentage of .469. 

Bartlett pitched four strikeouts against Madison, achieving and passing her goal of 100 throughout the entire season. 

"Addison Bartlett pitched one heck of a game," Ledford said. "She was pitcher of the year last year."

Owen baseball falls to rival 

The Owen baseball team was unable to stop rival Madison from taking a significant lead for a 19-3 loss on May 3. 

"We definitely wanted to come out and play better than this," said coach Mike Huntsinger. "We were in it until the wheels fell off."

Due to a personal matter, coach Michael Bonifay was absent from the game. Coaches Dwight Shelton and Huntsinger will be taking over for the rest of the season.

Junior DJ Graves started on the mound, pitching three innings. The left-hander struck out three Madison batters and walked six, three in the first inning.

Left-hander DJ Graves pitched the first three innings for the Warhorses, striking out three batters and walking six.

Right-hander Cayden Cook took over in the fourth, pitching for two innings before he was relieved by Jackson Craig halfway through the fifth. Neither Cook or Craig managed any strikeouts, walking five batters and one, respectively.

Madison came out with a 2-0 lead after stealing home twice. A hit from sophomore Aiden Warnock brought Graves home to score. 

Soon after, Warnock stole home, followed by Cook to give the Warhorses a 3-2 lead. Cook led the team with two hits and one run.

"Conference play has been tough also," Huntsinger said. "We've been in every game up until the fourth or fifth inning."

At the top of the third, Madison managed five runs to regain the lead. During a run to first, junior Diego Loredo ran into Owen baseman Liam Gildner, knocking him to the ground. Gildner was checked for injuries and removed from the game. 

"He's hurting but he'sOK," Huntsinger said. 

With Cook on the mound, Madison scored again in the fourth. 

Coach Mike Huntsinger gathers the infield after Madison went on an eight-run scoring streak.

At the top of the fifth, Madison went on an 11-run streak, scoring eight before Owen had more than one out. With Owen unable to score against Madison's significant lead, the officials called the game at the end of the fifth inning. 

Graves leads the Warhorses with a batting average of .273. Outfielder Will Johnson holds an average of .250, followed by Cook with .200. 

"The last two baseball games we've played have been the best we've played all year," Huntsinger said. "One of them was a loss to East Henderson but East Henderson is a good ball team and we battled them."

Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.