03/13/05 — Unbeaten Hawks hold off C.B. Aycock

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Unbeaten Hawks hold off C.B. Aycock

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 13, 2005 2:19 AM

PIKEVILLE -- A 15-minute weather-related delay turned a one-sided affair between defending conference champions into a thrilling ending Friday evening on the Charles B. Aycock softball diamond.

Threatening weather, accompanied by high winds, forced a suspension in the top half of the seventh inning with North Lenoir ahead 5-1. When the teams returned, the unbeaten Hawks added two more runs, but had to silence a Golden Falcon flurry.

A trio of Aycock pinch-hitters ignited a four-run outburst, but the Hawks kept their poise and prevailed 7-5. North Lenoir earned its first-ever road win in the series, which it leads 4-3.

"That was a ball game with every twist and turn that you could possibly imagine," Aycock coach David West said. "I don't think I've ever seen quite a game like that before."

Down 7-1, West called on his substitutes to handle pinch-hitting duties. Karlie West, Shelly Lancaster and Kylie Hill each responded with singles off Hawks right-hander Morgan Worthington. Hill plated Julia Lancaster, West's courtesy runner, to make it 7-2.

Leadoff batter Jazzmine Lee slapped a two-RBI single to left center, and scored on Kandace Burroughs' triple to right field.

Aycock trailed 7-5.

"Three fresh batters go up (to the plate) after sitting here (in the dugout) watching all night, and you can't ask for more," coach West said. "They got a little rally going there and that's the idea of being a role player. If they had not been willing to be role players, they would have missed out what they did in the last inning."

"That was fantastic."

Jenny Jackson continued the rally by reaching on an infield error, but it proved costly. Burroughs got a late start toward home and Hawks first baseman Brittany Sanders threw a perfect strike to catcher Randi Moulton for the second out.

Worthington (3-0) struck out Ashley Morris to end the comeback.

"They came through. They didn't tense up on me," fourth-year Hawks coach Heather Humphrey said. "It's a good win for us because Aycock is an excellent team and this will help prepare us for our conference."

Seven North Lenoir batters collected at least one hit apiece in a 12-hit attack against Aycock's Jackson, who has signed with Western Carolina. Leslie Oliver batted 4-for-4, while Chanee Lynch and Nichole Howard -- the No. 9 batter in the lineup -- each provided two hits in four plate appearances.

Oliver led off the game with a bloop single down the right-field line. Lauren Hudson fouled off four pitches and worked Jackson to a full count before lacing a single up the middle.

With one out, Worthington put down a perfect bunt and Oliver beat the tag for the 1-0 lead. But the Hawks weren't done. Ashley Griffin ripped a two-strike single to left field which scored Hudson and Worthington to make it 3-0.

Humphrey cited Hudson's tenacity at the plate.

"That gave them the confidence they could go up there and hit the ball," Humphrey said. "I didn't want to them be intimidated."

Jackson answered with an RBI triple in the bottom half of the first, but Aycock wouldn't score again until the seventh. Worthington, when she got ahead in the count, enticed the Golden Falcon batters to swing at off-speed pitches.

Worthington, in her third start on the mound, retired nine of 11 batters she faced through the middle part of the game. The senior right-hander ended the contest with seven strikeouts.

"Morgan did a good job on the mound and Randi did a good job behind the plate," Humphrey said. "She's got a variety of pitches and I think mixing them up helped keep them off balance."

Jackson (1-1) settled down and threw scoreless innings ... until the fifth.

The senior right-hander threw an outside fastball to Moulton, who knocked it over the center-field fence for a two-run home run. It was Moulton's lone hit of the game.

"She clammed it," West said of Moulton's round-tripper. "I told coach Humphrey don't you ever let anybody tell her that the wind had anything to do with it. It was a Jenny Jackson-power pitch and it was a Randi Moulton-power swing.

"The two collided."

North Lenoir, last year's N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 2-A runner-up to East Bend Forbush, puts its 4-0 record on the line Monday afternoon at East Duplin.

C.B. Aycock (2-1) begins defense of its Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference title Tuesday afternoon at county rival Southern Wayne.

Notes: Jackson, Moulton, Oliver, Jasmine Dobbin, Burroughs, Brittani Edgerton and Worthington play together on the weekends with the Wayne County 18-U Hurricane traveling team. ... Aycock's three wins in the series have been shutouts at home. ... Golden Falcon C Ashley Morris had five putouts and two assists, while 1B Burroughs collected five putouts. ... Aycock SS Brittani Edgerton had four putouts and three assists. ... Moulton led the Hawks with nine putouts.