Aycock softball thumps SW 14-0
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 9, 2006 2:09 AM
PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock's five-run, first-inning uprising against county rival Southern Wayne induced mixed emotions from head softball coach David West.
West couldn't have been more pleased with his team's offensive aggressiveness, but he also remembered the Saints' ability to erase early-inning deficits. Southern Wayne rallied from behind to defeat previously-unbeaten Wilson Hunt 3-2 on Tuesday.
"They were down 2-0 and won in eight innings," West reminded his team after the opening-inning surge. "Keep your intensity and stay focused."
The Golden Falcons did.
Senior Shelly Lancaster slugged two home runs and Brittany Ford ripped her first-ever grand slam in a 14-0, five-inning victory on the Pikeville diamond.
C.B. Aycock, the reigning Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference queen, rose to 9-6 overall and 4-1 against league opposition.
West and veteran Saints coach Brad Matthews expected a tightly-contested affair that would be decided on either a late defensive error, a heads-up base running play or a game-winning hit.
Errors heavily factored into this outcome.
C.B. Aycock benefited from six Saints miscues which led to 12 unearned runs off right-handed starter Lauren Darden. A freshman, Darden had hoped to get ahead in the count and work the corners to her advantage.
The defensive mistakes, physical and mental, forced Darden to groove several pitches into the heart of the strike zone. The Golden Falcons, winners in eight of their last nine outings, collected 10 hits overall.
Seven of nine starters had at least one hit for Aycock, which seized its 17th ECC win in 19 tries since claiming the regular-season crown a year ago.
"Aycock set the tone in that first inning," said Matthews. "They hit it hard and it just went downhill from there. It was one of those nights where we couldn't catch the ball, couldn't throw the ball and couldn't hit the ball.
"There was not a whole lot we could do right."
Ford reached safely on an infield error to ignite the key, first-inning rally. The sophomore right fielder hustled to second on Jasmine Dobbin's sacrifice bunt and crossed home on Kandace Burrough's bloop single to shallow right center field.
Burroughs eventually scored on an infield groundout and Lancaster cleared the bases with her first home run -- a three-run shot -- to deep center field for a 5-0 lead. Darden tried to jam Lancaster inside on a 1-1 count, but the Aycock shortstop went yard for the third time this season.
Ford belted her grand slam -- the first of her career -- to cap a seven-run, third-inning eruption. Lancaster smacked a lead-off home run in the fourth against Saints reliever Alyssa Bradshaw. Junior Lacie Hardy provided a pinch-hit, RBI single to conclude Aycock's scoring.
"All these hits are very welcome and I'd be crazy to say they weren't," said West, whose team has produced 35 runs in its last 16 innings of play. "We hit the ball well from the first inning on. They were as confident at the plate tonight as I've seen them all year."
The Saints (10-6, 3-2 ECC) managed just two hits against Aycock hurler Julia Lancaster, who improved to 7-2 on the mound. The junior right-hander retired six of the final seven batters she faced and amassed eight strikeouts.
"Julia has done some major league pitching this week," said West. "With Emily (Jordan) out, she knows everything is riding on her and she's been up to the task. She's just been extraordinary."
Jordan injured her right hamstring and is expected to return after Easter break.
Notes: Aycock posted its third shutout against ECC opposition in first-half play. ... Talton, a junior catcher, had eight putouts. ... Grantham had six putouts at first base for the Saints.
So. Wayne 000 00 -- 0 2 6
C.B. Aycock 507 2x -- 14 10 1
Leading hitters -- Southern Wayne -- Brianna Lofton 1-3; Lynn Grantham 1-1. C.B. Aycock -- Brittany Ford 2-3, HR, 4 RBI; Lacie Hardy 1-1, RBI; Kandace Burroughs 1-3, RBI; Rusti Talton 1-3, RBI; Shelly Lancaster 2-3, 2 HRs, 4 RBI; Jazzmine Lee 1-1; Chelsey Byers 1-2; Leigh Farmer 1-1.
LOB -- Southern Wayne 2, C.B. Aycock 6. SH -- Dobbin. HR -- Lancaster (4), Ford (1).
IP H R ER BBSO
Darden (L, 10-6) 3 6 12 0 3 0
Bradshaw 1 4 2 1 0 0
J. Lancaster (W, 7-2) 5 2 0 0 1 8
WP -- Darden. HBP -- Grantham (by J. Lancaster).
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