05/18/08 — Repeat Offenders: Wayne Christian claims second straight 1-A softball title

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Repeat Offenders: Wayne Christian claims second straight 1-A softball title

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 18, 2008 2:03 AM

NASHVILLE -- Roger Longwell might want to write the following memo to himself: Remind athletic director to clear out spot in trophy case.

The Eagles are state champions again.

Wayne Christian used two sixth-inning runs to grab its final lead of the season and hand archrival Cape Fear Christian a 4-3 loss in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A state softball championship on Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles became the second county team within a week to repeat as state champion. Faith Christian Academy claimed its third consecutive N.C. Christian Schools Association 2-A title last Saturday.

"Somehow, I think this year might be even sweeter than last year," said Longwell, the Eagles' head coach. "I am so proud of this team, and our seniors. It's been so much fun."

Scoreless through 31/2 innings, Wayne Christian (19-2 overall) lit up the J.W. Glover Athletic Complex scoreboard in the fourth inning. Cynthia Burroughs belted a double and scored when Traci Davis reached on an error. Burroughs and Davis earned spots on the NCISAA All-State 1-A team.

Cape Fear, the 2006 state champion, answered in the fifth. Casey Taylor and Olivia Scarborough, a three-time all-state selection, each supplied an RBI hit for a 2-1 lead.

Facing their first postseason deficit, Longwell's Eagles quickly regained their rhythm. Wayne Christian tallied the equalizer in the fifth and the go-ahead run one inning later.

All-state honoree Sarah McCullom and Davis cranked out back-to-back singles. Brittney Sullivan reached safely on an error and Kayla Kennedy provided an RBI hit.

Cape Fear pulled within 4-3 when Regan Taylor scored on a seventh-inning wild pitch. However, Burroughs dug deep, threw two of her best pitches of on the afternoon and the Eagles celebrated their second state crown.

"I was really nervous, but we have been doing this the same way all season with Traci starting and me closing it out," said Burroughs. "It has been working all year, and it did again today."

Davis yielded two runs (one earned), five hits and logged four strikeouts during a five-inning stint. Burroughs posted one strikeout and one walk in two innings of relief.

The duo combined to give up three runs in four playoff outings.

"Traci did a good job when she was in there, and then she turned it over to Cynthia, who was great in both games," said Longwell. "Our defense, especially shortstop Carly Hightower, made some big plays late in the game."

Burroughs tossed a one-hit shutout as Wayne Christian dumped Cape Fear 2-0 in a winners' bracket game Saturday morning. The right-hander finished with nine strikeouts and no walks in a complete-game effort.

McCullom accounted for the Eagles' offense with a two-RBI, third-inning double. Burroughs and Reagan Hinton scored on the extra-base knock.

"I didn't think that two runs would get it done in that game," said Longwell. "But it worked out in our favor."

Cape Fear eliminated Hobgood Academy in a losers' bracket game to set up the rematch with Wayne Christian. Longwell's team has won five of six meetings against Cape Fear, which claimed the 2008 Carolina Christian Conference regular-season title.