06/04/12 — Golden Falcons down Foard, win title

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Golden Falcons down Foard, win title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on June 4, 2012 1:48 PM

RALEIGH -- Yep, folks.

The wait is finally over.

And that annoying streak of runner-up and third-place finishes is just a memory now.

Charles B. Aycock's dream of winning a state softball championship turned from fantasy into reality Sunday afternoon.

Meredith Burroughs crushed two multiple-run home runs and earned MVP honors for the Golden Falcons, who handily defeated Fred. T. Foard 7-2 and seized their first-ever N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A title at Walnut Creek.

"I thank God for this opportunity to work with these talented girls, it couldn't be possible without Him," CBA head coach Brad Matthews said as he choked back tears. "I've been blessed to be able to coach these girls. I give all the credit to them because they've done everything (we've asked) through the whole year, which has made it easy to coach a team like this."

Aycock (31-3 overall) dropped the opening game of three best-of-three series in extra-inning fashion early Saturday afternoon. The Golden Falcons rebounded with a 4-3 win, which created a winner-take-all contest.

Matthews' team took it all in dominating fashion.

Burroughs' first home run, a blast over the right-field fence with Brooke Bell aboard, gave Aycock a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Foard right-hander Lexi Shubert. Burroughs' second round-tripper, a three-run shot in the third, placed her in a tie for the state's single-season HR record (19) with two other players -- Dallas Heaton of Eastern Randolph and Sarah Mooney of North Mecklenburg, who each set the record last season.

"It's easy to second guess yourself and everybody on our side will (about Burroughs), but we just didn't have situations where we could (pitch around her)," Foard head coach David Shubert said. "The first time was a runner on first with no outs. The second time was a runner on first and second with no outs.

"Do you load the bases and take your chances or not? It will look like that's what we should have done."

A back-breaking outfield error extended Aycock's lead to 7-0 in the fourth inning. Shubert grazed Rachel Jordan, who moved into scoring position on Katie Gay's sacrifice bunt. Misty Edwards reached on an error and the Tigers' left fielder dropped Bell's routine fly ball, which allowed Myleah Jones (Jordan's courtesy runner) and Edwards to score.

Bell and Burroughs accounted for the Golden Falcons' three hits against Shubert, who logged 12 strikeouts and finished the three-game set with 33Ks inside the circle.

The Tigers avoided the shutout in the fifth inning and plated two runs against Bell, who picked up her 22nd win of the season. The senior right-hander wiggled out of a sixth-inning jam and retired the side in the seventh to give Aycock it's long-awaited crowning moment in a decade-plus of frustrations.

Bell yielded six hits and fanned five Tigers in a complete-game effort.

"Brooke pitched awesome," senior catcher Ivy Hartzell said. "You would think after pitching two games (Saturday), she would be off, but I think she was faster today than yesterday.

"I knew yesterday we would come back today (for Game 3) and that it wouldn't be close. I told them if we scored three or four runs, it would be our game with the way she (Bell) was pitching."

It certainly was.