04/18/13 — Walk-off thriller: Burroughs' home run lifts C.B. Aycock

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Walk-off thriller: Burroughs' home run lifts C.B. Aycock

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 18, 2013 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock broke its post-game huddle and Meredith Burroughs trotted out with a teammate to get the flag behind the center-field fence.

A few moments later, Burroughs walked back through the gate and headed toward the dugout with a softball in her hand. It's a momento she'll certainly treasure for a while.

Burroughs swatted a game-winning, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and lifted Charles B. Aycock past Beddingfield, 1-0, on Wednesday evening.

"I was thinking anything up the middle because I was tired of them not pitching to me," said Burroughs, who drew three walks on the night. "I was not going to take another walk. I was ready for that one."

Burroughs' smash with no outs capped a nail-biting affair between two teams that each won a N.C. High School Athletic Association state championship a year ago -- Aycock in 3-A and Beddingfield in 2-A.

The perennial powers combined to leave 23 runners on base and batted a collective 1-for-20 with 14 runners in scoring position. Burroughs permitted six hits inside the circle, while Beddingfield right-hander Jenna Pate yielded eight hits.

"It was a great game," CBA head coach Laura Romo said. "We got a little lucky and that's part of the game, too."

Each team's defense wiggled out of trouble all evening.

The Golden Falcons (9-7 overall) left the bases loaded in the fifth, and stranded two runners in each of the third, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

Beddingfield (12-4) left two runners aboard in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings. Golden Falcons third baseman Keely Fulgham single-handedly turned a double play to thwart the Bruins' threat in the sixth when she snagged a line drive by Nickie Womble and tagged the bag to retire Candice Wilkins.

Wilkins had taken off the toward the plate on the play.

Burroughs sat down nine of the final 10 batters she faced after the sixth. She struck out two, walked three and recorded the team's second shutout of the season.

Jenna Van Horn (2-for-4) and Fulgham (2-for-4) started the Golden Falcons' eighth inning with back-to-back singles. Pate induced a bunt pop-up in front of the plate, recorded a strikeout and forced a flyout to preserve the shutout.

Burroughs ended Pate's shutout bid in the ninth with her lead-off blast that drew a roar from the Aycock faithful when it dropped over the center-field fence. It was her third homer of the season and 22nd of her career.

"Either it was a choice they made to pitch to her, or she (Pate) missed her spot," Romo said. "One way or the other, that's just how ball games go. That's a good ball team and we're a young ball team in age, but we're also young in experience.

"That team is very experienced, well-coached. We play them again next week and it will probably turn out to be something very different."