06/04/09 — CBA leads by example

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CBA leads by example

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 4, 2009 1:46 PM

Leadership in sports can be hard to define. For some great teams, leadership comes from a superstar who propels the team to new heights with a phenomenal solo performance.

Other squads look to an iconic coach who seemingly has all the answers when the chips are down.

On the softball diamond, Charles B. Aycock's leadership has been defined by clutch play. During the team's two most-recent playoff outings, four players have shined in the biggest moments.

Cynthia Burroughs earned the win in the pitchers circle in each of the last three Golden Falcon outings. The hard-throwing senior has built a reputation for coming through when the heat is on. After two state final appearances at Wayne Christian, Burroughs knows what it takes to retire elite hitters.

"My experience at Wayne Christian has definitely helped me this year," said Burroughs. "This season I have learned to trust my teammates a little bit more. These girls have shown that they are always in the game."

In the Golden Falcons' eastern semifinal-round victory over D.H. Conley, Burroughs' bat proved to be just as important as her fastball. With the game tied at 1-1 in the third inning, Burroughs belted a two-run triple that put C.B. Aycock ahead for good.

Anna Sullivan followed with a two-run home run.

Sullivan has elevated her defensive play during the postseason and has provided the power in the middle of the Golden Falcons' order. The catcher has belted three home runs in the last two games.

"Anna has been very good in the playoffs, offensively and defensively," said Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "There is no way to tell how big a home run can be in changing the momentum in a game."

Aside from the two seniors, a pair of underclassmen have risen to the occasion in tense moments.

Connor Davis has built a reputation as a tough out with a propensity for coming through with a timely hit when necessary. Cara Frederick delivered a perfect 3-for-3 night against Conley and scored the game-tying run in the third inning.

"Connor has been there for us in some key situations," said Matthews. "For just being a freshman she really has proven that she is ready for these games. Cara had a great game on Friday and she has been calm at the plate which has helped her see the ball well."

Aycock returns to action Friday in the N.C. High School Athletic Association final four at Walnut Creek. The Golden Falcons face Triton for the eastern regional title at 5 p.m.