Millbrook’s softball team traveled to Wake Forest-Rolesville hoping to snap one of the longest conference winning streaks in Triangle history. Millbrook coach Josh Bunting knew his Wildcats were nervous. In the other dugout were the undefeated Cougars, who also were tense.
The Cougars did calm their nerves and got out of the first inning without committing an error. The Wildcats didn’t. A Millbrook error in the infield allowed WF-R to score five runs in the first. The gap increased, which led to an 11-1 victory for the Cougars in five innings.
“I’m pleased we put five runs on them early,” WF-R coach Doug Kinsman said. “You could see that deflated them a little bit.”
Centerfielder Allison Scarboro took advantage of Millbrook’s error by hitting a two-out triple to right field. The hit drove in the final three runs of the first inning.
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“The girls were anxious because, to them, Wake Forest-Rolesville is their biggest rival,” Bunting said. “I think they were a little too excited.”
The win was the Cougars’ 128th consecutive in Cap Eight 4A play.
Before the game, pitcher Brittaney Dahle told Kinsman she was more nervous than usual.
“I felt like I had an off day because of my nerves,” Dahle said. “I wanted to make them miss.”
Third baseman Jordan Hall understood Dahle’s anxiety.
As a senior, Hall hasn’t lost to any Cap Eight opponent in the regular season. Hall knew Dahle, a junior, didn’t want to be the reason the Cougars (11-0, 6-0 Cap Eight) didn’t continue the streak.
“(The streak) puts the pressure on us to win, but that also makes us stronger,” said Hall, who had two hits and two RBI. “None of us want that loss on us.”
Hall said that’s why getting a lead in the first inning was so important. Hall could tell Dahle had relaxed when the Cougars took the field in the second inning after building their large lead.
“Getting that lead definitely takes the pressure off Brittaney ,” Hall said. “She always hit her spots, and she knows what she needs to do to get outs.”
Dahle, who’s started every game for the Cougars this year, finished with six strikeouts.
“We struggled because Brittaney is one of the best pitchers in the area,” Bunting said. “We just have to be more aggressive.”
Even when Millbrook (7-2, 6-1) put the bat on the ball, WF-R made plays on defense. The best came in the fourth inning, when shortstop Ryan Kostandin made a diving catch.
“There have been numerous times this year when you think it’s going to be a tough play, but she came out of nowhere,” Kinsman said of Kostandin. “She’s a phenomenal athlete.”
The Wildcats, who after nine games had their second-best start to a season in school history, scored their run in the fifth inning. Shortstop Alyssa Goodin drove in center fielder Jessica Graves with a single. Graves started the inning with a triple.
Bunting hopes his Wildcats will play better when the teams meet again on May 4.
“For us to get a run on Brittaney , I think that will give us some motivation in the future,” he said. “They are probably the best team I’ve seen. I just hope the next time it will be competitive.”