Wilmington Hoggard scored with 68 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and then scored a goal in the first 10-minute overtime to defeat Leesville Road 2-1 in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A girls soccer playoffs.
Leesville had taken the lead on a Madison Hoffman goal off a pass by Mary Kate Bowers with about five minutes left.
“We had hoped to lock it down and we did everything right, but they executed very well on a free kick and got the goal,” Leesville coach Paul Dinkenor said. “I wouldn’t say we were flat in overtime, but they executed very well again.”
Dinkenor said his team, the Cap Eight champion, played well in the game just as it had throughout the season.
“We’ve got five seniors who made major contributions to Leesville soccer, but overall we have a young team,” Dinkenor said. “After the girls get over the hurt of tonight, we’ll be excited to begin thinking about the start of next season.
“It was a tremendous season and ended a little bit earlier than we wanted.”
Millbrook nips Apex: Pitching and defense has been the core of Millbrook’s season, and a heads-up defensive play with a runner in scoring position Tuesday helped the Wildcats stave off an Apex comeback to walk away with a 2-1 win in the third round of the state playoffs.
Millbrook senior shortstop Brian Miller threw out a runner at the plate in the seventh inning to help protect the lead.
Apex senior Alex Yarem, who singled to center field, got in a rundown between first and second, and Apex sophomore Esetban Valencia made a dash toward home. Valencia had reached base on a Millbrook error before stealing second and advancing to third on Yarem’s hit. Miller’s throw to Millbrook catcher Connor McKenney saved the run.
“That is not how we drew that up,” Millbrook coach Austin James said. “We practice that literally every day. We throw situations at them that are random and have them make the decision on the fly and I’m just so proud of them that they made the right one. Really heads up play by our guys to get that out, and that’s what saved us obviously, because best case we’re heading into another inning. I was just proud of their awareness.”
Millbrook pitcher Gunner Deal threw a complete game for the Wildcats, giving up eight hits. While Apex’s leadoff hitter reached base in each of the final four innings, the Cougars managed just one run, a Lane Olive single RBI to score Brett McMillan in the sixth.
Senior Chase Denison allowed four hits on the mound for Apex.
Moreau helps Catamounts: Panther Creek’s Ross Moreau punched a ground-ball single to right field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Catamounts to a 2-1 4A victory over Heritage.
Both pitchers threw strikes and there was only one error in a crisply played contest that finished in just 1 hour, 41 minutes to beat the sun setting. Panther Creek pitcher Josh Maciejewski struck out nine and walked one while limiting Heritage to four hits.
Panther Creek will play at Millbrook, and Greenville Rose will play Richmond County in the quarterfinals.
Matthews leads South: Senior first baseman Joey Matthews hit the first two home runs of his high school career, driving in five runs, to power South Johnston to a 6-4 3A victory over visiting Northern Guilford.
Matthews hit a two-run shot to center field in the first inning to cap a three-run inning and erase a 2-0 Northern Guilford lead. After the Nighthawks had scored two runs in the third to take a 4-3 lead, Matthews sent a three-run homer over the wall in right field to give the Trojans (16-9) the lead for good at 6-4.
Sophomore right-hander Joseph Johnson pitched a complete game for South Johnston, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced and 10 straight from the third through the sixth innings. Johnson struck out seven and walked just one.
Bunn, Granville ousted: Currituck topped Bunn 5-1 and North Lenoir nipped South Granville 3-2 in the 2A bracket.
Voyager wins: Durham Voyager nipped Wallace-Rose Hill 4-3 and will be a home for a fourth round game against Whiteville, a 10-0 winner over Louisburg.
Mustangs reach fourth round: Sophomore pitcher Devin Wallace provided the pitching and the power-hitting, leading Middle Creek to a 10-0 six inning win over Leesville Road in NCHSAA 4A softball tournament.
Wallace allowed just an Ally Astorino double and two other base-runners in six stellar innings in which she recorded eight strikeouts. She also belted a solo home run in the second inning for the Mustangs first run.
Lily Morris added a two-run single to right in the fourth as Middle Creek expanded its lead to 4-0 in the fourth before ending the contest with six runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Mustangs will be at home against West Johnston, which topped Fuquay-Varina, 6-1.
Mills stops Fuquay: Megan Mills scattered four hits and struck out 13 in helping West Johnston advance in the 4A with a 6-1 win over Fuquay-Varina. Nadia Blevins ripped a three-run triple with two outs in the fourth to supply the offensive punch.
West Johnston scored all of its runs (two in the first and four in the fourth) with two outs.
Drayton retires 19 straight: Cleveland’s Taylor Drayton retired the last 19 batters of the game in a two-hitter, leading Cleveland to a 2-1 win over visiting Western Alamance in the third round of the state 3A softball playoffs.
Brittany Bucklin’s fifth homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning that scored fellow senior Heather McLean, provided all the scoring for Cleveland (17-6).
The Warriors (14-8) scored their run in the first as Christina Walker led off with an infield hit and scored on Peyton Hyler’s one-out single to center.
South earns rematch: South Johnston earned a fourth-round rematch against rival Cleveland with a 7-4 win against Eastern Alamance.
Lauren Higgins went the distance for the Trojans, who lost to Eastern Alamance in the playoffs last year.
“When you’re in the playoffs, you don’t get a second chance when it’s single elimination, so you have to be on your game,” South Johnston coach Mickey Bridgers said. “(It was) a great game, great effort and a feeling of redemption from last year.”
Kayla Allen went 3-of-3 at the plate for the Trojans with a pair of RBIs while Caroline Dorman drove in three runs.
Princeton advances: Princeton brought its hitting shoes to the third round of the 1A playoffs and eliminated Pinetown Northside, 9-3.
The Bulldogs (18-4), champions of the Carolina Conference, pounded out 14 hits. They will play Camden County in the fourth round.
A four-run rally in the fourth inning blew the game open for Princeton, which received 3-for-4 nights at the plate from winning pitcher Tori Paul, reliever Hailey Wood and first baseman Savannah Massengill, the middle of the Bulldogs’ lineup.
Paul fanned four batters and scattered six hits in four innings, while Wood also struck out four and allowed two hits.
“We’ve really come around the last four or five games,” said Bulldogs coach Terry Braswell. “And really hit the ball well. “Tori did a great job and Hailey came in and finished out strong and closed it out – both did a great job.”
Granville Central wins: Granville Central advanced in 1A with a 7-3 victory over East Columbus.
Mike Potter, Christian Worstell, Bill Woodward, Jay Mumford, Matt Aug and Mike Shanahan contributed to this story.