06/01/12 — Stevens: Different paths could lead to memories for years to come

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Stevens: Different paths could lead to memories for years to come

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on June 1, 2012 1:49 PM

Rarely do two stories, each with their own unique twists and turns, reach the same conclusion.

Charles B. Aycock's softball season has been a tale of dominance. The Golden Falcons were Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season and tournament champions, won 26 consecutive games and earned a second trip to the state finals in four years.

Aycock opposes Fred T. Foard in the best-of-three softball state championship series beginning today at Walnut Creek in Raleigh.

The Golden Falcons' year on the baseball diamond has been a lesson in adversity and the power of resiliency. Aycock found itself uncharacteristically out of the ECC race late in the season, and their postseason lives hung in the balance after a loss to South Johnston in the first round of the conference tournament.

Six state playoff victories later, Aycock is two wins away from its second state championship in five seasons. The Golden Falcons face Weddington in Game 1 of the state finals this evening at Five County Stadium in Zebulon.

Two distinctly different seasons, one that has gone relatively according to plan, the other a clinic in refusing to quit, are suddenly on similar paths to glory.

A pair of losses to North Johnston, the last of which came on March 7, are the only blemishes on the Aycock softball squad's record. The Golden Falcons (29-2 overall) strung together 54 straight innings without allowing a run before surrendering three in the first inning against Western Alamance last Friday.

Aycock has scored double-digit runs nine times during its current winning streak and tallied 14 shutouts.

The Golden Falcons' baseball team surprisingly found themselves 3-3 through their first six ECC games. Aycock (21-9) dropped both regular-season meetings with rival Southern Wayne and finished an unusual fourth in the conference.

However, the Golden Falcons won six of their final seven regular-season games and built some all-important momentum heading into the postseason. Aycock parlayed its newfound confidence into comeback state playoff wins at D.H. Conley, Jacksonville, Currituck County and West Brunswick.

After getting no-hit in Game 1 of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A eastern regional series, the Golden Falcons responded with back-to-back victories over Eastern Alamance to advance to the state finals.

If folks in Pikeville have their way this weekend, they'll be telling two entirely different stories with one happy ending for years to come.