WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest-Rolesville’s softball conference win streak spanned more than a decade before coming to a halt last month in a loss to Heritage.
The Cougars lost their next contest, but have since outscored opponents 79-8 through seven games.
Their latest was a 7-1 win over Green Hope Tuesday to advance to the third round in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
“It took the pressure off and showed us that we can’t get complacent out there,” said sophomore Katy Holt.
Though the streak is gone, the Cougars are hoping they can now make a run for the state championship that has eluded the club.
The team will face a hurdle in the next game, as Wake Forest-Rolesville (16-3, 12-1 Cap Eight) will travel to Apex (20-1, 15-1 Tri-Nine) for its third-round contest. Despite the Cougars’ yearly dominance in the Cap Eight conference, the team has struggled to advance past the third round in the playoffs.
In several of those years, Apex has been the team to stop Wake Forest’s playoff run, though the last time the teams met in the playoffs, the Cougars won 4-1 in the second round to advance in 2011.
Wake Forest-Rolesville coach Doug Kinsman said it would be nice to give Apex a taste of its own medicine, and he thinks this year could be the Cougars’ year.
“It seems like every year we’ve been playing on the downside when we get in the playoffs,” Kinsman said. “We seem to be peaking and we have bats that are going off at the right time.”
Wake Forest scored two runs in the first inning on an inside-the-park home run by freshman Cassidy Dahle, and senior pitcher Brittaney Dahle held the Falcons without a hit until the fifth inning. She finished with 13 strikeouts.
The Cougars scored three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to pull away. Green Hope’s Natsumi Koyama scored in the seventh for the Falcons’ lone run.
Green Hope coach Michelle Then felt confident in her team’s chances coming into the contest.
The Falcons (14-8, 9-7 Tri-Nine) had finished above their usual .500 season mark, including an upset against Tri-Nine No. 1 seed Apex, and got their first playoff win over Durham Riverside days earlier.
Then knew the team needed to bat, pitch and field well in order to take down the Cougars, but the Falcons struggled early on and could never get the momentum going.
“We just didn’t get a chance,” Then said. “We made some errors early and just couldn’t get going.”