C.B. Aycock softball splits pair
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 2, 2012 11:35 PM
RALEIGH -- Burned by a blown call at the plate and steamed over its opponent's excessive celebration after a Game 1 victory, Charles B. Aycock's players vowed it wouldn't happen twice Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Meredith Burroughs delivered the eventual game-winning hit and the Golden Falcons derailed Fred T. Foard, 4-3, in Game 2 of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A softball championships at Walnut Creek.
The Tigers claimed the opener 1-0 in nine innings.
The teams square off in a winner-take-all game today at 1 p.m. C.B. Aycock (30-3 overall) is seeking its first-ever state championship, while Foard (26-5) is going for its first state title since 1998 and just its second overall in program history.
"We were not ready to play (in Game 1)," Burroughs said. "I thought we had gotten complacent. Maybe that loss was a good thing because it kind of kicked us into gear to play harder ... gave us a little fire going into the next game."
After escaping a minor first-inning jam, Brooke Bell drew a 10-pitch walk from Foard right-hander Lexi Shubert to start the Golden Falcons' first of two early-inning uprisings in Game 2. Burroughs, who batted 2-for-3, smacked a sharply-hit grounder to shortstop Addie Bolick, who booted the ball into center field.
One out later, catcher Ivy Hartzell plated Bell with a base knock. The Golden Falcons coaxed the Foard defense into a throwing error and Burroughs slid home ahead of the tag for a 2-0 advantage.
"We came out swinging the bats to start with and you could tell we had a lot of energy," CBA head coach Brad Matthews said. "We had a 'refuse-to-lose' attitude and that's the way we had to play (in Game 2)."
Misty Edwards legged out a slap single down the third-base line to start Aycock's second-inning surge. The senior second baseman stole second and scampered home on Bell's single between shortstop and third base. Bell easily scored on Burroughs' second hit of the game, which stretched the lead to 4-0.
"I was thinking 'hit the ball' and prayed that the Lord would give me the strength to do it and he sure did," Burroughs said. "(Shubert) is a great pitcher ... has really good breaking balls and has more movement than any pitcher I've seen."
Shubert (26-5) held Aycock to just two hits over the final four innings. The junior used a drop ball and cutting curveball to keep the Golden Falcons guessing in the box, and finished with nine strikeouts.
Bell surrendered three third-inning runs, including a two-run home run to Ashley Oliver that just did clear the right center-field fence. The Tigers managed just two hits and put just two runners aboard in the final four innings against Bell, who retired 12 of the final 14 batters she faced.
Shortstop Connor Davis and Burroughs turned a pivotal u-6-3 double play in the fifth.
"I can't say enough about Brooke throwing two back-to-back games like she did," Matthews said. "The girl hit a home run off of her, but she didn't let that bother her at all. She settled back down. My girls played with a lot of heart and I told them no matter the situation you have to go down with a fight.
"That's what they did today and I was proud of the defense for the way they played behind Brooke."
Shubert posted 12 strikeouts and yielded two hits in Game 1. Katie Gay and Cierra Harris each provided a hit for Aycock, which batted 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left five stranded.
After a scoreless first inning, Davis reached when the Tigers misplayed a bunt to start the second. Davis advanced to second base on Harris' sacrifice bunt and stole third with Rachel Jordan at the plate.
Shubert unloaded a wild pitch and Davis scampered home. The ball caromed off the backstop to catcher Mackenzie Dziendziel, who flipped it to Shubert just as Davis slid into the plate. Once the dust cleared, the umpire called Davis out even though her entire leg had crossed the plate underneath Shubert.
"A wild pitch ... I think we get in there and that could be the state championship right there," grimaced Matthews. "Just one play. We can't let that affect us tomorrow."
Each team squandered scoring chances throughout the extra-inning affair until Shubert crushed a first pitch from Bell down the left-field line to start the ninth. One batter later, Jessie Miller, Shubert's courtesy runner, scored on Rebecca Rowe's walk-off single up the middle.
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