The Fuquay-Varina softball team made it to the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs by always coming up with timely hits to win close games against strong teams. But in the third round on Tuesday, the Bengals couldn’t find one.
Fuquay-Varina’s season ended with a 3-0 loss at Winterville’s South Central High.
South Central (20-4, No. 10 seed), was led by sophomore pitcher Abigayle Rowell, who pitched a complete game with just three hits allowed. Brianna Smith, Megan Tarpey and Aleyah Evans had the only hits for Fuquay-Varina (14-6, No. 15 seed).
“If you can’t put runs on the board, you can’t win games. We were just missing it,” Fuquay-Varina coach Deb Clarke said. “We came from behind every single time so we always thought we were going to pull it out.”
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South Central’s three runs came via freshmen in the third inning: an RBI fielder’s choice by Ensley Berry was followed by a Cameron Davis two-run homer.
Berry hit a slow tapper to third base, where Logan Bowling fired it to first base. However, the first baseman was charged with an error for stepping off the bag too early. The runner would have scored anyway – there was only one out in the inning – so the RBI stood.
Fuquay reliever Kaitlan Smith entered the game in the bottom of the fourth with two on and no outs but got out of the jam. She had no strikeouts and starter Cassidy Keith had two, but the Bengals were.
Fuquay’s Nos 1-4 hitters only reached based on two walks. Two of Fuquay’s three hits came in the final inning by Evans and Megan Tarpey.
“Our biggest fight was there at the end,” Clarke said. “That was the hardest we hit the ball.”