RALEIGH – It took three games to determine the 4A softball champion.
No. 8 Jack Britt took game one from No. 2 South Caldwell after the Lady Spartans gave up a two-run lead in the top of the seventh. South Caldwell bounced back in game two and shut out Jack Britt, 3-0 to force a decisive game three on Sunday.
After South Caldwell’s Anna King tossed a no-hitter on Saturday, Jack Britt came back to Dial Softball Stadium on the campus of N.C. State University on Sunday with 13 hits.
The Lady Buccaneers scored six runs to knock off South Caldwell, 6-3 for the program’s first state title.
The Lady Buccaneers opened the game with a run in the top of the first as MacKenzie George came around to score on a line drive single to center field by Rayven Shepard.
George who singled to open the game, went 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring two of the Jack Britt runs and adding an RBI as she was named the series MVP. In game one, George scored a run and had an RBI as she went 2-for-4 in the Jack Britt’s other win of the series.
South Caldwell responded in the bottom of the first, plating two runs as Reagan Weisner slashed an RBI single into center that scored Ciara Hanson who had doubled with two outs. Weisner scored on a single by Graclyn Green to give the Lady Spartans a 2-1 lead.
Jack Britt answered in thetop of the second with three singles by Catie McGrath, George and Savannah Roddey with one out. Freshman Carlie Myrtle drew a walk to drive in a run and tie the game. Shepard drove home the second run of the inning with a sacrifice fly that allowed George to scamper home and give the Lady Buccaneers back the lead, 3-2.
South Caldwell tied it up in the bottom of the second with a single from Katie Wright. Wright advanced to second on a hard-hit single off the pitcher by Jasmine Hall before Cydney Combs smashed a ball off the shortstop for a single that allowed Wright to score and tie the game — again.
Jack Britt’s MaKayli Harris opened the top of the third with a single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alyssa Norton. Harris stole third as McGrath drew a walk, bringing up George. George slapped a single through the left side to score Harris and give the Lady Buccaneers a lead they did not relinquish.
The Lady Buccaneers added some insurance runs in the top of the fourth with a two-run single by Taryn O’Connor.
Myrtle managed the rest for Jack Britt, throwing the final 5.1 innings and allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out one batter.
South Caldwell finished the season 29-4, winning the Northwestern 3A/4A over 3A State Champions Alexander Central by posting a record of 13-1 in league play. The Spartans earned the program’s first State Championship berth winning the Western Regional for the first time in school history.
Jack Britt finished the year 25-6, finishing in second place in the Sandhills 4A with a 10-4 league record. The Lady Buccaneers won the Eastern Regional for the first time in program history and claimed Cumberland County’s first fast-pitch state title.