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Central The Big East’s Best
MOUND BIRD. Amanda Wood was exceptional on the hill this spring for the Southern Nash Ladybirds’ softball squad. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)
ROCKY MOUNT -- Even though she had been an integral part of Nash Central’s softball success story over the past few seasons, the message was clear for Lindsey Sharpe heading into the 2013 campaign.

This was now her team.

In the past, Sharpe had shared mound duty with Grayson Bass, but Bass graduated left spring, leaving 100 percent of Nash Central’s pitching chores in Sharpe’s able right hand.

Sharpe, a senior, delivered for the Lady Bulldogs this year, leading them to the Big East Conference Championship and a second-round appearance in the Class 3-A State Playoffs.

With Sharpe mowing down foes and sprinkling in some clutch hits, Nash Central lost just twice the entire campaign -- and went undefeated against league foes.

Sharpe, who has signed to continue her softball career at Barton College, has  been saluted as the Big East Conference Player of the Year.

“We let Lindsey know coming in that she was going to have to be the go-to person and the workhorse (on the mound) this season,’’ said NCHS head coach Gary Smith. “She handled it well. She spent a lot of weekend time working on her pitching.

“This was a well-deserved award for her. She worked very hard to get better. Pitching-wise, I don’t think there was anybody comparable.’’

Five over Lady Bulldogs earned First Team honors -- Dana Kelly, Grace Joyner, Brittani Strickland, Caley Bass and Rachel Pearce.

Bass, also a senior, was a three-year starter behind the plate for Nash Central. She effectively worked with her sister (Grayson) and Sharpe during that span.

“Caley also improved a whole lot from last year,’’ Smith said. “She had a great year. Of the 15 people who tried to steal on her, only seven of them made it.’’

Of Nash Central’s First Team picks, only one of them (Strickland) was an underclassmen. Strickland batted cleanup and played shortstop this spring for the Lady Bulldogs.

Smith also earned an award as he was tabbed as the Big East Championship Coach of the Year.

Smith is the only softball coach Nash Central has known during its 11-year existence. During that span, the Lady Bulldogs have made the postseason eight times.

Central has also claimed three league championships (two regular season and one tournament) during that period.

Southern Nash and Northern Nash tied for the No. 2 position in the Big East standings, with Northern winning a play-in game to determine the league’s second seed for the Class 3-A State Playoffs.

Northern was represented on the First Team by Jessica Ricks, Caroline Jenkins, Shelby Godwin and Susanna Sykes.

Southern Nash’s First-Team selections were Madison Bell, Danyelle Noland, Tyreka Nicholson and Amanda Wood.

Rocky Mount’s honorees were Carmen Richardson and Brittany Stallings.

All-Big East
Softball Team
• Dana Kelly, Nash Central
• Grace Joyner, Nash Central
• Lindsey Sharpe, Nash Central
• Brittani Strickland, Nash Central
• Caley Bass, Nash Central
• Rachel Pearce, Nash Central
• Madison Bell, Southern Nash
• Daynelle Noland, Southern Nash
• Tyreka Nicholson, Southern Nash
• Amanda Wood, Southern Nash
• Jessica Ricks, Northern Nash
• Caroline Jenkins, Northern Nash
• Shelby Godwin, Northern Nash
• Susanna Sykes, Northern Nash
• Amber Baker, Wilson Fike
• Breyonna Brown, Wilson Fike
• Madison Ward, Wilson Fike
• Allison Pate, Wilson Hunt
• Courtney Davis, Wilson Hunt
• Carmen Richardson, Rocky Mount
• Brittany Stallings, Rocky Mount

Honorable Mention
• Sarah Keel, Nash Central
• Morgan Tyson, Southern Nash
• Amanda Dickson, Northern Nash
• Kendall Reaves, Wilson Fike
• Casey Page, Wilson Hunt
• Haley Coppedge, Rocky Mount

Top Honors
• Player of the Year -- Lindsey Sharpe, Nash Central
• Championship Coach of the Year -- Gary Smith, Nash Central

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