Paige Brantley Quate contributed to Wake Forest-Rolesville High’s 143-game softball winning streak in conference games and Tuesday she helped stop the string.
Quate played at Wake Forest and was unbeaten as a pitcher in league games during her career in 2003 through 2006.
She now coaches nearby Heritage High, which did something no conference team has done since 2002: The Huskies beat Wake Forest, claiming a 2-1 Cap Eight 4A Conference victory thanks to the pitching of sophomore Laura Williams, outstanding defense and a two-run triple by freshman shortstop Jordan Gontram.
Wake Forest pitcher Brittaney Dahle, who struck out 21 batters in an eight-inning game last week, struck out 12 Huskies and allowed only five hits.
“We played great,” Quate said. “We had been playing well and I knew we could win if we played well defensively and we remained aggressive at the plate.”
Heritage scored both runs in the third winning when Kelly Faison walked and Lauren Sales was hit by a pitch. Both scored on Gontram’s line drive down the third base line.
Wake Forest threatened in the bottom of the second when it had runners on second and third with no outs, but Williams struck out a batter and escaped without damage after a pop-up bunt attempt and a ground out.
“I, for one, have enjoyed the ride of the streak,” said Wake Forest coach Doug Kinsman. “It brought a tremendous amount of notoriety to the school and it was a great motivating tool for the players.
“But to be honest, I am glad that it is over. Now I hope that the girls can get back to focusing on what I feel is the most important aspect of this season: playing good softball and making a run in the state playoffs.”
The victory pushed Williams to 8-0 this season. She has 72 strikeouts in 10 games. She allowed only one base runner after the third inning.
“She was outstanding and we made the plays behind her,” Quate said.
The win was huge for Heritage, which opened three years ago, and especially for the Huskies’ only senior, Jody Rowland, who began her high school career at Wake Forest.
But Quate was impressed by her team after the game, too. Led by Williams, centerfielder Jacy VanArkel and catcher Jordan Helms, some of her players stopped their celebrations to go to Wake Forest players to encourage them and express admiration for the winning streak.
And after the game, the Heritage and Wake Forest coaching staffs continued their tradition of going out to eat together, dining at Gatehouse Tavern in Wake Forest.
Wake Forest coach Doug Kinsman told Quate that if the streak had to end, he was glad it ended against her team.
“Yes, I was sort of glad it was a former player to accomplish this feat,” Kinsman said. “It sort of kept it in the family and lessened the sting a little.”
Quate said the win was a little bittersweet.
“It was my streak, too,” she said.