Golden Falcons seeking trip to Walnut Creek
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 5, 2012 11:15 PM
Charles B. Aycock is locked and loaded for another state championship run on the softball diamond, and once again proved this season there is never a shortage of talent in rural Pikeville.
An unexpected second-round playoff loss in 2011 whetted a famished fan-base's hunger for what it hopes will happen this spring -- a return trip to the final four at Walnut Creek for the first time since 2009.
First things first.
The No. 3-ranked Golden Falcons (21-2 overall) put their 18-game win streak on the line today against Triton in semifinal-round action of the 2012 Eastern Carolina3-A Conference tournament. Aycock swept the regular-season series.
"I've really been pleased with our team chemistry," CBA head coach Brad Matthews said. "The girls get along with each other and are out there having fun. They're excited to be out there and that makes a difference in your ball team."
Aycock has compiled a .376 team batting average and swatted 22 home runs -- the best numbers since Matthews took over the program. Five starters are hitting .400 or better and the team has swiped 63 bases in 66 attempts.
Sophomore first baseman/pitcher Meredith Burroughs has enjoyed a breakout season. She leads the team in batting average (.523), home runs (14), RBI (34), runs scored (39) and extra-base knocks (19).
Burroughs is 5-0 with one save inside the pitcher's circle and has logged a 1.87 earned run average (ERA) in 14 appearances.
"I knew as long as people pitched to her, she would have a year like this," Matthew said. "She has stepped it up for us. She's a team player and knows if she gets on base, we have plenty of good hitters behind her. If she can take a walk, she will.
"She's not going to swing at bad pitches."
Burroughs, Cierra Harris and Savannah Briggs have seen quality time on the pitching rubber. The trio filled in admirably for senior right-hander Brooke Bell, who missed two-plus weeks with tendon trouble in her throwing arm.
Bell is 12-2 with a team- and ECC-best 0.90 ERA this season.
"When Brooke went down, Meredith stepped right in," Matthews said. "Cierra is one of those pitchers who can come in and get some innings (for us). She's not an overpowering pitcher, but she can throw strikes and challenge the other team to beat us at the plate."
The quartet has been bolstered by a defense that has committed just 20 errors in 149.7 innings this season. The Golden Falcons have held opponents to one run or less in 14 games, including seven shutouts.
Aycock is 4-1 in one-run contests.
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