A two-run home run by Brinley Irvin and a pair of RBI from Erin Crotts propelled the Ledford Panthers past Carson 5-3 in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs.

Megan Hayworth pitched a complete game for the Panthers, who improved to 20-5 overall. After allowing three runs through the first four innings of play, Hayworth was lights out in the final three frames.

“Meg pitched very well tonight,” Ledford head coach Charlie Brown said.

Thanks to plenty of run support, she was able to pitch confidently to contact, resulting in clean innings from the Panthers’ ace.

“With five runs of offense, I could just focus on throwing my pitches,” Everhart said. “I never had to worry about what they [the Cougars] were doing.”

Ledford’s offense produced all the runs it needed in the first four innings, which was fortunate for the home team, given the fact the bats could not solve Carson’s starter in the last three. Krista Penninger generally frustrated Panther hitters and induced several pop-ups among her final six outs recorded.

Destiny DeBerry went 3-for-4 from the home team’s leadoff spot and was able to start off the game with a hit and a run scored, coming home on Irvin’s blast in the first. After helping her team to an early 2-0 lead, DeBerry again scored on Crotts’ single in a two-run second.

For a third and final time, DeBerry reached in her third at-bat and scored once again on a Krotts hit, this time a double.

“We jumped on them early on and got some timely hitting,” Brown said. “DeBerry, with her speed, really worries a lot of players and coaches on the bases. Brinley’s home run energized us. I’m very pleased with a lot of things we did tonight.”

The Mid-Piedmont champions will next play at home against the winner between Central Cabarrus and West Iredell.