Dahle, Wake Forest-Rolesville sweep past West Johnston and into championship series

cbest@newsobserver.comMay 25, 2013 

Wake Forest's Brittany Dahle (21) shuts down the West Johnston bats. Photojournalist Johnny Johnson's singles from the West Johnston High School and the Wake Forest-Rolesville High School softball game held in Wake Forest, NC, May 24, 2013. Wake Forest won Game 1 of the 4A Eastern regional Championships Series 7-0.

JOHNNY JOHNSON — newsandobserver.com

— Wake Forest-Rolesville senior Brittaney Dahle found plenty of reasons to forget Friday night’s 4A eastern regional championship series softball opener against West Johnston. Dahle didn’t like the way she’d pitched at all and looked at Saturday as a chance for redemption.

Nevermind the fact that she’d pitched a shutout in the best of three series opener and the Cougars had downed West Johnston 7-0 in the opener, or that Wake Forest-Rolesville entered Saturday with a mulligan available if it didn’t win Game 2 of the series.

“We treated it like yesterday had never happened,” Dahle said of her team’s approach to the second game. “Just like we didn’t play them. This was another round and we were playing West Johnston for the first time, just like we have every other game in the playoffs so far.”

It was the perfect approach as the Cougars – behind Dahle’s two-hit shutout – took a 2-0 victory and the series sweep, earning a spot in next weekend’s state championship series in Raleigh against Alexander Central (31-1).

Wake Forest-Rolesville (20-4) made the most of its scoring chances against West freshman hurler Megan Mills.

Delane Smith doubled on a high fly ball that was far enough down the left field line to fall in to start the third inning, then scored on Jessie Barbour’s looping single to center.

An inning later, Dahle singled and the Cougars went small ball to set up Chelsea Cunningham’s RBI single with two outs to push the lead to 2-0.

West had two solid chances to score.

Amber West doubled to start the Wildcats’ fourth but Dahle struck out the next two batters, then got the final batter of the inning to pop out.

In the seventh, Christina Gower doubled with one out, then Danielle Myers reached on a Cougars infield error. But Dahle got the next two batters to fly out, including Mills who drove a hard liner to deep center field only to find Allison Scarboro just deep enough to get under the ball on the warning track, sending the Cougars into the state championship series.

“I didn’t know Allison was that deep, had no idea why she was but she was in the perfect position to get to that ball,” said Wake Forest-Rolesville coach Doug Kinsman said.

The Wildcats (16-6) kept popping balls up off of Dahle. They recorded 14 fly outs and struck out six times.

“We knew we couldn’t let West Johnston’s batters get their hands extended,” Kinsman said. “So we were just trying to throw screwball, screwball, screwball, then go high or low. For the first six innings Brittaney did an excellent job, then I think she got nervous in the seventh, just started trying to throw strikes and they hit some balls hard.”

That approach went against the scouting reports West Johnston had gotten on Dahle, which pegged her as a pitcher that lived on the outside of the plate.

“We just couldn’t make that big hit,” said West coach Warren Singleton. “We swung the bats; but the key hit, we just couldn’t get it.”

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