03/01/13 — BASEBALL TAB -- Aycock suffers key losses to graduation, and its coach

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BASEBALL TAB -- Aycock suffers key losses to graduation, and its coach

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 1, 2013 1:47 PM

Strangely enough, the N.C. High School Athletic Association record book has just two entries for walks -- total in a game by one team and total in a game by both teams.

But there's no mention of individual walks.

Meredith Burroughs could set a new standard for free passes this spring after matching the state record for home runs in a season (19) during Charles B. Aycock's run to the NCHSAA Class 3-A softball title a year ago.

The state record for career homers is 37.

Burroughs was named MVP of the state championship series and led the Golden Falcons in 10 offensive categories in 2012. She also earned first-team All-American accolades by MaxPreps.com.

Should Burroughs be lucky enough to get any good pitches, she's capable of going yard any time this season. But opposing hurlers might opt to either jam her inside or just give up the base depending on the situation.

Aycock will undoubtedly have a different look -- on the diamond and in the coach's box in 2013. Burroughs is expected to work inside the pitcher's circle and play catch with Reagan Herndon, who will step in behind the plate. Herndon played right field last season.

Senior Cierra Harris will move to shortstop and Mandy Gay should return to right field. The remaining positions are up for grabs for the Golden Falcons, who shared the 2012 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season title with South Johnston and won the tournament a year ago.

Laura Romo takes over as head coach and is assisted by Emily Jordan, according to CBA athletics director Charles Davis. Lavon Matthews is the JV coach.

Aycock opened the season Wednesday against North Johnston.

Rosewood could make a serious state championship run this spring.

The Eagles shared the Carolina 1-A Conference title with archrival Princeton and picked up the No. 2 seed for the postseason. They concluded the year 20-4 overall and came within one victory of reaching the best-of-three eastern championship series.

The starting lineup returns intact.

However, the full team hasn't practiced together since four players -- Holly Heath, Alicia Burns, Krystal Yelverton and Hayley Mercer -- are still in basketball season. The quartet helped lead Rosewood to runner-up finishes behind Goldsboro in regular-season and tournament play.

Jackie Lewis is the new head coach at Eastern Wayne.

The Warriors hope to rebound from a tough 2012 and advance to the postseason for the second time in the last three years.

Southern Wayne has a solid nucleus of experienced upperclassmen and boasts one of the most-talented freshmen classes in recent years. Seven starters are back, including all-district performer Haley Warren, who is expected to have breakout seasons inside the pitcher's circle and at the plate.

Also returning are Cierra Moody, Savannah Wiggins, Hope Rose, Morgan Evans, Keaton Bradley and Claire Kennedy. Evans played two years ago. The freshmen are Aubrey Sasser, Hope Jones, Kelsey Hayes and Katie Anderson.

County foes Spring Creek and Goldsboro, which lost three starters, are expected to show improvement on the diamond this spring.

Faith Christian finds itself in a rebuilding phase after finishing third in the N.C. Christian Schools Association 2-A final four a year ago. The Conquerors won three consecutive state championships from 2006-2008.