HOLLY SPRINGS — After postgame handshakes were exchanged and each coach had talked to their teams for one final time for the night, Northern Durham softball coach Boo Rigsbee went back to congratulate Holly Springs junior Erica Nunn one more time.
The respect was well-earned Friday night, as Nunn pitched her Golden Hawks (20-1) to an 8-0 win in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs by striking out 16 batters, allowing zero hits and giving up just one walk.
It was her seventh no-hitter of the season. She struck out the first nine batters she faced.
"We hadn't seen anyone like her all year long," Rigsbee said. "You try to prepare (using) a pitching machine, or whatever. But you can't do that justice."
The win sets up a Tuesday showdown at Wake Forest-Rolesville, the Cap Eight regular-season champion that defeated Apex 4-1 on Thursday.
"I'm excited," Nunn said. "I think it's going to be a really good road game, and we're ready for them."
Nunn and her teammates also got it going at the plate, clubbing 10 hits with Nunn going 3-of-4 with two RBIs by herself.
Nunn drove in the game's first run in the first inning, singling in leadoff batter Jenna Firestein. In the third inning, Holly Springs struck again when Nunn hit a double, setting up clean-up hitter Cianna Burt's RBI triple in the next at-bat.
With Burt's pinch runner, Ka'la Jordan, on third base, the Hawks' Beth Wantz hit one back to Northern pitcher Tara Wagner. But Wagner hesitated, caught between throwing to first for the force out or going home to try and get Jordan. By the time she made up her mind to throw home, Jordan was sliding across the plate, and the throw was in the dirt.
"We were just a little bit ahead of their pitching," Holly Springs coach Jill Munchick said. "We were selective. We had some walks and they had some errors we were able to capitalize on."
In the fourth, nine-hole batter Giselle Ramos scored on a wild pitch. Then Nunn repeated her first inning feat, driving in Firestein on another RBI single.
Northern Durham ends its season 14-7 after finishing second in the PAC-6 4-A Conference. The Knights started three freshmen this year
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