FUQUAY-VARINA — Apex junior Kierstyn Drum homered in the top of the sixth inning to propel the Cougars past Fuquay-Varina 2-1 on Friday and keep their record unblemished on the season.
Drum drove in Mackenzie Brown, who had tripled, and then Apex pitcher Lindsay Hodge finished off the Bengals in the next two innings.
Fuquay senior Heather Ratcliff took the loss. The Bengals (6-2) scored their lone run in the first inning when freshman Ashlyn Long doubled and then Kelsey Ward drove in Ashley Lindsey.
Best quote:When describing her home run, Drum credited her coaches with telling her the right adjustments to make at the plate.
“The coaches told me to back up a little in the box,” Drum said. “The coaches just know things man!”
What worked: Both teams have played great defense so far this season. Neither team committed an error on Friday. The Cougars (9-0, 7-0) trio of Alexis Overdiep, Cassie Healy and Jordan Smith turned a clutch double play in the sixth to thwart a potential Bengal rally. Hodge struck out five and allowed just four hits.
“(Lindsay Hodge) did a great job, she stayed in control and kept their batters off balance,” said Apex head coach Bonnie Hodge. “Lindsay can throw any pitch I call because she knows she has the defense behind her.”
Fuquay was led defensively by centerfielder Long, shortstop Lindsey and first baseman Ward. Bengal head coach Deb Clarke praised Ward, a junior, for not only her defense and timely hitting, but also for her leadership. Clarke also said Ratcliff pitched a great game against the hard-hitting Cougars.
“We love games like this,” Clarke said. “Apex came in undefeated, it was like a playoff scenario.”
Highlight reel: Apex had Drum’s shot to left field, while the Bengals relied on a trio of defensive highlights.
Long made two catches in center field, one on a hard hit shot off the bat of Healy, and then a diving catch on a Brown hit. Lindsey, the F-V shortstop, threw out Hodge on a ball hit deep in the hole. Ward added to the highlight by extending her glove and pulling in the throw.
Looking forward: Long is the youngest member of a young Bengal team, featuring just two senior starters, but she had some wise words.
“The hardest thing to do as a young team is to win the close games,” Long said. “Once we get over that hurdle we’ll do really well.”