05/13/11 — Trojans down Golden Falcons to repeat as tourney champs

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Trojans down Golden Falcons to repeat as tourney champs

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 13, 2011 1:47 PM

FOUR OAKS -- South Johnston delivered an early knockout punch.

Charles B. Aycock never recovered.

Whitney Williams crushed a first-inning home run and the Trojans successfully defended their Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament crown with a 7-1 triumph over the Golden Falcons on a rainy Thursday evening.

South Johnston (21-1 overall) clinched the No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, which begin Tuesday. Aycock (20-5) dropped to the No. 2 seed and entertains South Brunswick in opening-round, postseason action.

Williams' two-RBI blast capped a three-run, first-inning outburst for the Trojans, who shared the ECC regular-season crown with the Golden Falcons. The junior first baseman plated Annah Reaves, who drove in Kaitlyn Johnson with an RBI triple earlier in the opening inning.

"The last time we played here, it was the opposite, we jumped on them early," said Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "Then they kind of got down. You can't let a team like that get out (ahead) on you early because it's hard to come back, especially when they play well defensively. It's tough."

The Trojans, who have three of the last four meetings against the Golden Falcons, finished with seven hits -- including five extra-base knocks. Aycock right-hander Brooke Bell (17-5) permitted five earned runs in five-plus innings, while senior reliever Ashley Shingleton surrendered two earned runs on three hits.

South Johnston collected three runs in the first and fifth innings, and logged one run in the third. Six of nine starters recorded at least one hit.

"They were hitting the balls in the gap and there's nothing you can really do about that," said Matthews.

The Golden Falcons cranked out 10 hits and put 11 runners on base against Trojans hurler Kaitlyn Barbour. But the junior right-hander coaxed Aycock into 11 fly-ball outs and four groundouts.

Matthews' team batted 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"They made some outstanding plays in the outfield and we just couldn't get anything started," said Matthews. "We always get two outs, then a couple of hits, but just couldn't (score). We need to get people on base early to do anything."

Meredith Burroughs paced Aycock's offense with three hits, including two doubles and drove in the team's lone run. Reagan Herndon and Ciera Harris supplied two hits apiece.