RALEIGH The Alexander Central softball team’s homemade banner that stretched across the outside back wall of their dugout read, “We Are Raleigh Bound.”
The unbeaten Cougars, having arrived in the Capital City, are now one victory shy from making a turn down Perfect Street.
Central (34-0) took a 1-0 best-of-three series lead in the 4A state championship with a 4-3 win over Fayetteville Cape Fear on Friday night at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
Central and Cape Fear (26-2) meet again at 11 a.m. Saturday and, if necessary, a third game is scheduled for 2 p.m.
The West Region champions won despite leaving runners on base in every inning – seven in all. The Cougars also nearly booted a 4-1 lead when two throwing errors contributed to Cape Fear scoring two runs and having runners at first and third before relief pitcher Bailey Rhoney struck out Mary Williams to end the game.
“That was very uncharacteristic for our hitters not to put the ball in play harder than we did,” Central coach Monte Sherrill said. “Normally, we’re a clutch team in a lot of ways.”
Central scored first when the Cougars squeezed across a run in the bottom of the fourth on one hit.
Bailey Sherrill led off with a walk and advanced to second on Kiana Millsaps’ sacrifice bunt. Amanda Sports followed with a single, but Sherrill had to hold at third. She came home on a fielder’s choice ground ball to shortstop.
Cape Fear promptly answered to tie in the top of the fifth, but the Colts were guilty of their own uncharacteristic play as two throwing errors and a walk allowed Central to take a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Central First baseman Bailey Sherrill, who was 2 of 2, scored her second run when she led off the sixth with a single. Sports, who walked, and Mia Blochaviak, who reached base on a throwing error, also scored runs in the sixth.
Rhoney came on in relief and pitched 4 2/3 innings to improve to 17-0 for the season.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less