Softball playoffs -- Falcons shut down Comets
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 20, 2004 1:57 PM
PIKEVILLE -- A lack of consistent hitting and stranding base runners concerned veteran Charles B. Aycock softball coach David West heading into Tuesday evening's opening-round playoff game against Clayton.
The Golden Falcons corrected one problem, getting crucial RBI hits from Jennifer Williamson and Meredith Wilkerson. However, they left 11 runners on base -- eight via walks -- in a 4-0 victory against the state-ranked Comets.
CBA pitcher Jenny Jackson
Aycock (20-1) remained unbeaten in first-round N.C. High School Athletic Associaton Class 3-A contests during West's tenure as head coach. The No. 1-ranked Golden Falcons continue play at home next Tuesday against either Harnett Central or Kinston. A Harnett Central win sets up a rematch of last year's eastern regional championship won by the Trojans in 11 innings at Walnut Creek.
Clayton concluded its season 19-4.
"We left so many people on base," West said. "If you look for a silver lining, at least we didn't leave them all at first and second. We did work to push them up and got them there (to score).
"At the same time, we've got to work harder to push them in."
The Golden Falcons had 17 base runners total and deserted seven runners at either second or third base. Aycock batted 3-for-12 with those players in scoring position.
"You've got to credit their defense on situations like that (and) you've got to credit their pitcher," West said of the Comets. "But you've also got to think about these hitters (who) have got to step up and hit the ball in those do-or-die situations.
"We've got to get that confidence at the plate and the only we're going to score those runners is to get the ball in play."
Clayton right-hander Sarah Jackson allowed four base runners in the first two innings combined. But Aycock couldn't find an offensive rhythm against Jackson's erratic pitching.
Sophomore first baseman Kandace Burroughs broke up Jackson's no-hitter with a one-out single in the third. Burroughs moved into scoring position on April Vick's two-out single, and a wild pitch.
Williamson worked Jackson to a 1-1 count and laced a fastball up the middle to plate Burroughs and Jasmine Dobbin, Vick's courtesy runner. The Golden Falcons led 2-0.
"That was a big, pressure-packed two-out single," West said. "She's Aycock's female athlete of the year, so we expect those things out of her."
Aycock, which has won 13 consecutive district/sectional playoff games since 2000, left five runners stranded in the fourth and fifth innings combined.
Wilkerson slapped a two-strike single in the sixth to score Brittani Edgerton, who legged out a bunt single. Wilkerson eventually scampered home on a wild pitch, Jackson's fifth of the game.
Meanwhile, Golden Falcon right-hander Jenny Jackson kept the Comets' offense from erupting. The junior single-handedly turned a second-inning double play, collected six strikeouts and yielded just one hit through five innings.
Jackson upped her record to 18-2.
Clayton threatened with back-to-back slap-bunt singles in the sixth. After a sacrifice bunt, Jackson fanned catcher Molly Muncert. Kasie Moore followed with a shot back up the middle that Jackson knocked down, chased in the circle and threw to a stretching Burroughs at first for the inning-ending out.
"That was a close call at first and we got the advantage from it," West said. "That knocked them down a little and Meredith finished it up with that hit. I'm glad that she stood up there and did that, especially after she made a couple of little mistakes (on defense).
"She has matured so much the last few years as a softball player. She's one of the main cogs in the wheel right now."
Jackson (18-2) finished with a three-hitter and eight strikeouts.
Aycock shut out an opponent for the 11th time this season.
2004 N.C. High School
Class 3-A Softball Playoffs
(at C.B. Aycock HS)
Clayton 000 000 0 -- 0 3 1
C.B. Aycock 002 002 x -- 4 6 3
Leading hitters -- C.B. Aycock -- Brittani Edgerton 1-3; Meredith Wilkerson 1-4, 2B, RBI; Kandace Burroughs 1-4; April Vick 2-4; Jennifer Williamson 1-4, 2 RBI. Clayton -- Samantha Godwin 1-3; Genilee Eisenmann 1-3; Molly Muncert 1-3. DP -- C.B. Aycock 1. LOB -- C.B. Aycock 11, Clayton 6. SH -- Clack, Vick, Morris.
IP H R ER BB SO
S. Jackson (L) 6 6 4 4 8 5
J. Jackson (W) 7 3 0 0 1 8
WP -- S. Jackson 5. HBP -- Setliff (by S. Jackson).
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