The Lake Norman Charter softball team is well on its way to posting its best record since the program’s inception three seasons ago. Entering a Thursday, April 14, game against Hickory Grove, the Knights were 9-1 with plenty of games remaining to break the school mark.
“For the first time, the core group of girls on our team have come together, and we’ve had some good leaders step up,” said Lake Norman Charter coach Kyle Pierce. “We’ve grown. We’re more experienced now.”
One of the catalysts behind the Knights’ impressive accomplishments has been the play of sophomore catcher Hanna Hasker, who was named a team captain, along with junior pitcher Rachel Gebelein. The pair has made an impact on the team, according to Pierce.
“Hanna was elected one of the captains, and she deserves it because she’s been a true defensive leader out there for us,” Pierce said. “Rachel, as our starting pitcher, has been phenomenal.”
But the Knights aren’t just relying on two players in their bid for an at-large berth in the Class 1A state playoffs.
“(Sophomore) Brittany Buckstad has been hot at the plate for us, too,” Pierce added.
And as far as the team’s goals beyond a school record for victories?
“Number one, we’ve wanted to make the playoffs, and we’re working toward that,” Pierce said. “And number two, as a team, I told the girls before the season started, ‘Just improve every week. Play solid, fundamental ball.’”
Lake Norman Charter posted a 12-5 record in 2010, but Pierce said he believed his young squad beat itself in four of those defeats.
“This year, that hasn’t been much of a problem,” he said. “Hopefully, we can keep up the success.”