Wayne Christian takes state title
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 20, 2007 2:14 AM
Brittany Sullivan had seen a steady diet of off-speed pitches from Cape Fear Christian right-hander Olivia Scarborough in three meetings this season.
Sullivan, in fact, never touched a base. The Wayne Christian catcher seemed destined for the same outcome Saturday afternoon after going hitless during her first two at-bats. But her third plate appearance ended in a different -- and satisfying -- result.
Scarborough threw an inside fastball, Sullivan took a full cut and laced a two-RBI double down the third-base line.
"She's had my number all year," grinned Sullivan. "She knows I can't hit a changeup and always throws me that as a first pitch. I just waited on it (this time) and was surprised when I saw the fastball."
Sullivan's extra-base knock capped a four-run, fifth-inning uprising and catapulted Wayne Christian to a 5-2 victory over Cape Fear Christian in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A title contest.
It was the host Eagles' second win over the defending state champion in less than 24 hours. Sophomore right-hander Cynthia Burroughs threw a two-hit, 1-0 shutout over Cape Fear Christian on Friday evening.
"I was nervous ... shaking before the game yesterday," said Burroughs. "I remember playing Cape Fear earlier in the year and we lost to them really bad.
"After we beat them yesterday, it was a load off our shoulders."
Cape Fear, however, selfishly refused to relinquish its crown. Scarborough and her teammates manufactured a single run in each of the first two innings off Wayne Christian pitcher Traci Davis.
Meanwhile, Scarborough yielded hits to three of the first six Wayne Christian batters she faced during the first two innings. After Burroughs slugged a lead-off double in the third, Scarborough retired six straight batters to protect Cape Fear's 2-0 lead.
The host Eagles stranded five runners and batted 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings combined.
"We came back against Lawrence and I assured the girls we could do it again," said Wayne Christian coach Roger Longwell. "It was just a matter of time and getting back into the driver's seat. We got base runners on in just about every inning.
"We just wore her down a little bit and it was a matter of time before we opened it up."
Wayne Christian broke loose in the fifth.
Charity Wright, a slap hitter, reached base when Cape Fear's third baseman could snag a pop-up. Wright and Reagan Hinton, who singled, moved into scoring position on Burroughs' groundout to Scarborough.
Davis followed with a bloop single that scored Wright. Hinton crossed on Sarah McCullom's game-tying single and Sullivan followed with her two-RBI shot down the line.
"We've got a good defensive team, but when the pitcher gets tired, that ball starts getting closer to the strike zone and it's easier to hit," said Cape Fear Christian coach Tammy Scarborough.
Cape Fear Christian (19-4) had run-scoring chances in the final three innings against Davis, but came up empty. One runner was left in scoring position, while two other runners were erased on fielder's choice groundouts.
Davis limited Cape Fear's bottom half of its lineup to three hits in 15 at-bats. In contrast, the top four hitters turned in a 5-for-16 effort. Cape Fear, however, didn't scratch in the scoring column after the second inning.
A junior right-hander, Davis surrendered eight hits, walked one and struck out eight.
"I was pretty confident about the bottom (of CFCA's lineup), but it still scared me because they had been getting around on me a little bit," said Davis, who earned a spot on the 14-player all-state team. "I knew the top (of the order) was coming up and I knew I had to play harder ... dig deep.
"The infield and outfield backed me up. I couldn't have done it without them."
Kayla Kennedy produced a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Wayne Christian concluded the year 18-4 overall and became the fifth different state champion since 2000. Lawrence Academy has three championships, followed by Halifax Academy with two. Faith Christian-Rocky Mount won in 2002.
"I told these girls all along that I've believed in them," said Longwell. "It was just a matter of them believing in themselves, and pulling it out."
Sullivan believed most of all.
Wayne Christian 000 040 1 -- 5 11 2
Cape Fear Christian 110 000 0 -- 2 8 2
Leading hitters -- Wayne Christian -- Reagan Hinton 1-4; Cynthia Burroughs 3-4, 2B; Traci Davis 3-4, RBI; Sarah McCullom 1-4, RBI; Brittany Sullivan 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Kayla Kennedy 2-4, RBI. Cape Fear Christian -- Olivia Scarborough 2-4, 2B; Courtney Williamson 2-3.
DP -- CFCA 1, Wayne Christian 1. LOB -- CFCA 7, Wayne Christian 9. SH -- Em. Johnson.
IP H R ER BB SO
Cape Fear Christian
Scarborough (L) 5 8 4 3 0 5
R. Taylor 2 3 1 1 2 1
Davis (W, 11-4) 7 8 2 1 1 8
WP -- Scarborough.
T -- 1:48.
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