Aycock clinches tie for title
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 10, 2005 1:55 PM
PIKEVILLE -- An almost-perfect outing enabled Charles B. Aycock to clinch a tie for its third consecutive regular-season softball championship on Monday evening.
Senior right-hander Jenny Jackson threw a no-hitter and faced just 21 batters in the Golden Falcons' 3-0 conquest of South Central. A victory today at Eastern Wayne gives Aycock the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference title outright and the No. 1 seed for the state playoffs.
"You can't ask for more than what my girls did tonight in a game as big as this," Golden Falcons coach David West said. "You hold these girls from South Central to three or four hits, you've done something great.
"Jenny holds them to no hits and that says a lot for her."
Jackson collected 11 strikeouts and flirted with a perfect game through four innings. The Falcons' Nicole Nunamaker reached on an error in the fifth, but was erased at third base by catcher Ashley Morris.
Jackson induced eight ground-ball outs and a pop-up to Morris behind the plate. Morris emerged the defensive leader with 10 putouts and three assists, while junior first baseman Kandace Burroughs contributed nine putouts.
"Jenny is not going to lay down up there," said West. "She's going to come back every single pitch. She has a tremendous work ethic and goes after it.
"She's one of those kids that you know you're not going to out-do her. If you do, you won't out-do her the next time."
The Golden Falcons registered double digits in errors and suffered their only ECC loss -- with Jackson on the mound -- at South Central on April 5. That disappointing defeat came on the heels of a non-conference setback against nemesis North Lenoir the evening before.
West didn't know what to expect from that point.
"After the (first) South Central game, the girls hit rock bottom," said West. "The girls decided right then we could do one of two things. We could stay there, or pick ourselves up and start playing softball.
"We picked ourselves up and started playing."
C.B. Aycock (16-3, 11-1) reeled off eight consecutive wins before the Falcons came calling again. Jackson never wavered on the mound and faced just three full counts in the regulation seven-inning game.
South Central (14-5, 10-3) didn't hit a ball out of the infield.
A second-inning infield error aided the Golden Falcons' cause. With one out, Rusti Talton tripled down the left-field line. Morris hit a grounder to short and Talton got caught in a rundown.
The Falcons' third baseman tagged Talton out, but overthrew second base in an effort to get Morris for a double play. The errant throw sailed into the outfield and Morris scored for the 1-0 lead.
Talton ripped a two-strike double in the fourth and scored on Chrissy Setliff's double down the line. A fifth-inning throwing error led to Aycock's final run.
"Setliff come through a big hit and Rusti came through with a big hit," West said. "We had some good secondary base running. This time we took advantage of the errors where last time they took advantage of our errors.
"It's good to be on the other side of it."
Talton and Setliff accounted for Aycock's four hits off South Central right-hander Jessie Odom.
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