Cleveland, Clayton and West Johnston had their NCHSAA softball playoff runs come to an end Friday night. Cleveland met rival Triton for the fourth time in the 3A playoffs, taking a 6-3 loss. West fell to Conley in the 4A playoffs, 1-0.
Also in the 4A playoffs, Clayton was no-hit by Fayetteville Cape Fear’s Mary Williams in a 6-0 Colts’ victory.
Hawks take advantage of scoring chances
Triton won the fourth meeting of the season with Two Rivers 3A Conference rival Cleveland, seven days after the Rams had won a 16-11 game between the teams that determined playoff seeding.
Triton (13-8) scored five of its runs with aggressive base running that forced throwing miscues by the Ram defense.
In the first, Annie Tyndall doubled and scored the Hawks’ first run after she advanced to third on a ground ball. The throw to third sailed high, allowing Tyndall to come home.
Cleveland tied the game in the third when Alexis Ivey singled and scored on Tabby Herzig’s single.
But Triton made sure the lead didn’t last, putting together a two-out, five-run outburst in the top of the fourth. With Kathryn Elliot and Sydney Brewington on base, Tyndall singled to center, bringing Elliot home. Brewington moved to third on the play, drawing a throw to the bag. But the throw sailed high, then got by the Cleveland left fielder, allowing Brewington and Tyndall both to come home for a 4-1 lead.
Tyndall was 3-for-4 with two doubles for the Hawks.
Savannah Dunn and Kayla Reiwestahl singled to keep the inning going and Dunn later scored on the third Cleveland miscue in the field of the inning for a 5-1 lead.
The Rams put runners on base in the fifth and sixth inning, but couldn’t score. Triton added a run in the top of the seventh when Riewestahl walked and later scored on a Ram throwing error.
Cleveland tried to come alive in the bottom of the seventh — bidding to advance to the third round of the playoffs for the second year in a row. Ivey started things with a single, then Herzig doubled to put two runners in scoring position for Becca Straka who promptly came through with a double of her own, scoring two runs with one out.
But Hawks’ pitcher Lindsey Champion got a couple of quick infield outs to end the threat and Cleveland’s season.
Herzig was 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Straka drove in two runs for the Rams as well. Cleveland right-hander Taylor Drayton allowed seven hits but just three earned runs on the night.
The Rams finished the season 14-6 and lose four players to graduation: Alliyah Sands, who will play in college, Jodi Morgan, Skyler Allen and Herzig.
Conley wins in final at bat
A couple of well-placed bunts and the timeliest of hits helped D.H. Conley down West Johnston 1-0 in the second round of the 4A playoffs Friday night in Winterville.
The Vikings (21-2) scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the seventh inning after Gray Barrow and Rachel Wiedner reached on bunts with nobody out.
Autumn Dyson followed with a single to center to bring Barrow home for the victory, ending West’s season.
Both teams had their best chances of the night to score before the seventh come in the sixth inning. West had a runner stranded at second when a Viking outfielder made a running catch to end the inning.
Wildcats’ standout hurler Megan Mills — who battled Conley’s Wiedner pitch for pitch all night — got out of a jam with a runner at third base by coaxing a pop up out of a Conley batter.
West Johnston finishes the season with a 14-5 mark, having given up just 41 runs on the season.
Williams, unbeaten Colts dominate Clayton
Cape Fear, a nationally-ranked team, ran its record to 22-0 behind Williams’ 15 strikeouts in a 6-0 victory. Williams struck out the side in four different innings and only allowed one base runner.
Clayton’s Lindsay Hodge reached on a Cape Fear error in the fourth.
The Comets finish the season with a 14-7 mark and lose four key seniors: co-captains Mindy North and Erin Hollingsworth and outfielders Megan Strickland and Kortnie Blanchard.