Southern Wayne finishes season at 15-11
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on May 10, 2006 2:14 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock's softball team wrapped up the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference's No. 1 spot for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs well before the league tournament started.
Still, the Golden Falcons played like a team that is clearly not satisfied as they claimed an 8-2 win at home over Southern Wayne on Tuesday in the semifinals of the inaugural ECC tourney.
Aycock (15-7), which seized its 100th victory in the last five years, will host Wilson Beddingfield today in the tournament championship. The third-seeded Bruins (18-4) defeated No. 2 Wilson Hunt, 2-1 in the other semifinal.
"These kids aren't satisfied. They know the playoff spot is not at stake, but pride and respect is sometimes a lot more important than a playoff spot," Aycock coach David West said.
The young Saints -- a team with just one senior -- finished the season at 15-11 overall.
"I was expecting us to struggle some with the young players we had, but I'm proud of them," Southern Wayne coach Brad Matthews said. "They worked hard everyday, and that's all you can ask."
Tuesday's semifinal was tightly contested in the early-to-middle innings.
With Aycock sophomore Emily Jordan in the circle, the Saints struck early with a run in the first as Rachel Reynolds' sacrifice fly brought home Brianna Lofton. Lofton, who finished with two hits in three plate appearances, scored Southern Wayne's second and final run in the third on Lindsey Pearsall's two-out single to left.
Brittani Edgerton started the Falcons' second with a triple down the right field line, before Julia Lancaster's double and Stevie Savage's single plated one run each. The pair of runs in the second proved to be all Saints' freshman Lauren Darden would allow in the first four innings as the game stood tied at 2-2.
On their third and fourth trip through the lineup, the Falcons' bats came alive.
In the fifth and sixth innings combined, Aycock banged out seven hits by six different players -- resulting in a six-run outburst to push the score to its final margin.
By game's end, all nine Aycock starters had either an RBI or scored a run in a 12-hit effort. Edgerton led the way with a 3-for-4 performance with two RBIs, while Savage, Jazzmine Lee and Kandace Burroughs posted two hits each.
"I think we got a little more comfortable at the plate, and I think the hitting started getting contagious," West said. "We were a little slow to start, but we got ourselves together."
Jordan tossed the first four innings -- yielding two runs on four hits with two walks and one strikeout in a no-decision. The lefty tossed a scoreless fourth, before Lancaster came on to pick up the win in three innings of flawless relief work. Lancaster (12-2), a junior righty, struck out four of the nine batters she faced.
Both Jordan and Lancaster benefited from errorless defensive play behind them, including a solid effort from catcher Rusti Talton.
Darden (15-10), who got the decision in all but one of the Saints' games this year, finished with seven strikeouts against two walks and gave up eight earned runs on 12 hits. She was especially effective with runners on base in the early going as Aycock left five on the bags in the first three innings.
"We played hard and kept it close, but they had some big innings that hurt us," Matthews said. "Lauren had an outstanding year for a freshman. She's got three more years left ... she's going to be tough and I know she'll work at it."
Katie Westfall, Southern Wayne's lone senior, played in her final game.
The Golden Falcons, who started the season 1-5, have won 14 of their last 16 games heading into the tournament championship. Regardless of the outcome against Beddingfield today, Aycock will host the Coastal Conference's No. 2 seed in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs on Friday, May 19.
2006 Class 3-A
(at C.B. Aycock HS, Pikeville)
So. Wayne 101 000 0 -- 2 4 3
C.B. Aycock 020 015 x -- 8 12 0
Leading hitters -- Southern Wayne -- Brianna Lofton 2-3, 2 runs; Lindsey Pearsall 1-3, RBI; Rachel Reynolds 0-2, RBI; Lynn Grantham 1-3. C.B. Aycock -- Brittani Edgerton 3-4, 3B, 2 RBIs; Stevie Savage 2-3, RBI; Jazzmine Lee 2-3; Kandace Burroughs 2-3, 2 runs; Julia Lancaster 1-4, 2B, RBI; Brittany Ford 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Leigh Smith 1-1.
IP H R ER BB SO
Darden (L, 15-10) 6 12 8 8 2 7
Jordan 4 4 2 2 2 1
Lancaster (W, 12-2) 3 0 0 0 0 4
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