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Alexander Central softball sweeps title series in 2 games, tops Fayetteville Cape Fear 18-7

By Tom Shanahan
Correspondent

RALEIGH No longer is there anything odd-numbered about Alexander Central’s run of four NCHSAA 4A state softball titles the past six seasons.

The Cougars capped an unbeaten record at 35-0 with an 18-7 win over Fayetteville Cape Fear to complete a two-game sweep of the best-of-3 series that concluded Saturday at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.

This year’s title was Central’s second straight after being limited to every-other-year championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Something else out of the ordinary for the 2014 win: Senior Bailey Sherrill earned the MVP award over her more highly publicized sister. Junior Vada Sherrill was the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year.

In Friday’s 4-3 win, Bailey was 2 of 2 with two runs scored. In Saturday’s contest, still a one-run affair through five innings, she kept the Cougars on top with one run scored and two RBIs in her first two at-bats. She finished the game 2 of 4 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

“I’d rather have her win the award than me,” Vada said. “She earns everything she does in every way.”

Bailey was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 3 years old, but she has been cancer-free since she was 6.

“She’s a fighter,” Vada said. “She’s truly a hero to me.”

Bailey was flabbergasted by the award and attention showered on her by teammates, family and fans and took a few moments to be able to express herself.

“Whew! I’m usually in the background,” she said. “But when the moment comes, you try to do your best. All these girls are my sisters.”

The decision was Central’s 24th double-digit victory of the year, but the Cougars responded to rare pressure on them. They trailed 3-2 after two innings and led only 6-5 after the third until Cape Fear (26-3) imploded; Central scored 5 in the sixth and 7 in the seventh.

“It shows what we’re about,” Vada said. “When we step on the field, our true colors come out.”

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