05/22/08 — Falcons drop Southern Wayne

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Falcons drop Southern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 22, 2008 4:13 PM

WINTERVILLE -- The scouting report said "make the pitcher work."

But Southern Wayne hardly forced South Central hurler Caitlin Wainwright to break a sweat Wednesday evening. The senior right-hander threw a perfect game as the Falcons blanked the Saints 4-0 in their third-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A softball playoff contest.

South Central (22-2 overall) faces 2007 state runner-up and county archrival D.H. Conley on Friday. The winner advances to the final four at Walnut Creek.

Wainwright threw just 60 pitches in the 73-minute contest.

"It seemed like just when I stepped into the coach's box, I was already turning around and walking back to the dugout," said Saints head coach Michael Wiggs. "My hat's off to her. She was focused, she mixed the pitches up, mixed up her spots and was very effective.

"We swung the bats and hit the ball hard on occasion, but their defense was sound."

Wainwright, who threw an effective changeup, logged nine strikeouts, induced 10 ground-ball outs and two flyouts. First baseman Meredith Davis connected on the Saints' lone ball out of the infield, which dropped into the glove of right fielder Kim Boltinhouse.

First baseman Nina Varner led the Falcons' defense with 11 putouts.

"I feel like I'm finally back on my game," said Wainwright, who threw 52 strikes. "I tried to keep it (pitch) up (in the strike zone) and make them either pop it up or hit it on the ground.

"Every game you have a pitch that will be on and you'll keep with that, and tonight it was my changeup. It was working, so I tried to throw that to every batter at least (once)."

South Central struck first in the opening inning.

Saints right-hander Lauren Darden issued a lead-off walk to Emily Perkins, who moved into scoring position on Morgan Davis' groundout. One batter later, Perkins scampered home on Shaela Churchill's sharply-hit single up the middle.

The Falcons parlayed two hits, a passed ball, error and walk into two third-inning runs. Churchill started the rally with a two-out double and scored on Shakemia Edwards' hit to left field. The Saints committed their lone error on the play, which allowed another run to score.

"They got some timely hits in some timely situations," said Wiggs. "To scratch (a run) in that first inning is always big in a playoff game ... get on the board first.

"We just couldn't make anything happen all night and that goes back to good pitching."

Darden surrendered four runs (three earned) on seven hits, walked three and struck out two in a complete-game effort. The junior right-hander retired eight of the final 10 batters she faced and threw 90 pitches -- 62 strikes and 28 balls.

It was the final game for seven Southern Wayne seniors -- Brianna Lofton, Lindsey Pearsall, Meredith Davis, Alyssa Bradshaw, Jordan Hill, Haley Gerstler and Katlyn Thornton. The group helped lead the Saints to their first conference title in the program's fast-pitch era this spring, and a combined 44 wins during the past two seasons.