Davis throws no-hitter for Wayne Christian
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 16, 2007 1:47 PM
Wayne Christian pitcher Traci Davis nearly turned in a spotless worksheet Tuesday afternoon against Pungo Christian Academy.
The right-handed hurler missed a perfect game by one batter in a 10-0 dismantling of the Raiders in quarterfinal-round play of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A softball playoffs. Davis tossed her fifth no-hitter of the season and guided the Eagles to their second straight final four appearance in school history.
"This was the first time we've ever seen her," Pungo Christian coach Jimmy Johnson said of Davis. "She threw strikes and threw them hard. Our girls are a little bit slow swinging the bat; haven't quite figured out how to shorten up and catch up (to the pitch).
"She was blowing it by most of our girls."
Davis (9-4) retired the first 11 batters she faced, including eight by strikeout. Tess Smithwick emerged the Raiders' lone runner when she reached on a two-out error in the fourth inning.
Davis sat down the next seven Pungo hitters after the defensive hiccup and concluded the afternoon with 13 strikeouts. It was Wayne Christian's seventh shutout of the season and second in the program's postseason history.
"Traci did a good job hitting her spots and shutting them down," said Eagles head coach Roger Longwell. "We threw mainly outside with drop curves, curves and fastballs outside.
"We might have thrown half a dozen pitches inside. We got them to bite and stayed to the right side (of the plate)."
Pungo right-hander Brinkley Johnson, a sophomore, avoided a bases-loaded jam in the second inning. But the two-year varsity starter couldn't escape a two-out situation in the third.
Brittany Sullivan delivered the game-winning hit, an RBI single to left field, which scored Davis. It was Sullivan's first hit since returning from a leg injury that kept her benched during most of the Carolina Christian Conference tournament.
Senior first baseman Michelle Krug provided a two-out, two-RBI double in the fifth inning.
Wayne Christian finally broke the game open in the sixth. Davis slugged a two-run home run and Sarah McCullom followed with a solo homer. It was the first round-tripper of the season for both batters, and just the third overall for the high-scoring Eagles in 20 outings.
"We got our hitting back on track, but it took us about three or four innings," said Longwell. "We got a little more confidence in ourselves (at the plate). That's been our struggle the last few games.
"We've been putting the ball in play, but to somebody. Today, we came alive."
Eight of nine starters combined for 14 hits in the contest, which was halted in the sixth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule. Davis (four RBI) and Charity Wright emerged the offensive leaders with three hits apiece.
Sullivan and Kennedy each added two hits. McCullom (RBI), Cynthia Burroughs, Krug and Carly Hightower each contributed a hit.
"We played fairly well until the sixth inning and kind of got caught up in everything that was going on," said Johnson, whose team concluded the year at 14-6. "They started thinking about where they were. Wayne Christian is a great ball team."
In other first-round games, defending state champion Cape Fear Christian hammered Ridgecroft 15-5; fourth-seeded Hobgood edged Faith Christian-Rocky Mount 5-4 and second-seeded Lawrence Academy dismantled Northwood Temple 18-2.
Cape Fear, the state's No. 1-ranked team, will face Hobgood on Friday at the Nahunta Sports Complex. The Eagles entertain Lawrence, which has played for every state title since 2000, on their home diamond.
The four teams will continue double-elimination play until a state champion is crowned Saturday.
Pungo Christian 000 000 -- 0 0 3
W. Christian 001 027 -- 10 14 1
Two outs when game-ending run scored.
Leading hitters -- Wayne Christian -- Traci Davis 3-4, HR, 3 RBI; Sarah McCullom 1-4, HR, RBI; Brittany Sullivan 2-4, RBI; Kayla Kennedy 2-3; Michelle Krug 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI; Charity Wright 3-4.
LOB -- Pungo Christian 1, Wayne Christian 10. SB -- Sullivan 2, Kennedy, Hightower.
IP H R ER BB SO
Johnson (L) 52/3 14 10 9 2 4
Davis (W, 9-4) 6 0 0 0 0 13
WP -- Johnson 3.
T -- 1:13.
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