Blustery winds didn’t blow in any substantial changes Friday to the Northern Carolina Conference softball standings.
Instead, Bunn stayed in the NCC race by braving the adverse weather – and a stiff challenge from long-time rival Franklinton – to sweep a league doubleheader at Bunn.
The Wildcats held off Franklinton by a 2-1 margin in the first game before closing out the twinbill with a 6-1 decision.
Bunn, now 12-1 overall and 10-1 in the NCC, will probably need a victory on April 25 at two-time defending state champion South Granville – the only team to defeat Bunn this season – in order to have a shot at the league crown.
But that possibility will only remain in place if the Wildcats can hold serve against its other NCC opponents, including a Franklinton club it has dominated during the 22-year fast-pitch softball era in North Carolina.
“It’s a scary feeling because you never know how your team will show up and play, and you never know what the other team can do,” said Bunn head coach Melanie Lovin. “I made sure our players knew that Franklinton is a very good team that can show up and bite us.”
That was almost the case in the first contest as Franklinton senior veteran Summer Jacobs engaged in a pitcher’s duel with Bunn freshman ace Caroline White.
Ironically, it was White’s bat that made the difference as her run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth pushed the Wildcats ahead to stay.
White then retired the Red Rams (7-7, 6-5) in order in the top of the fifth and final inning, including a pair of strikeouts, to seal the victory.
White would finish with 10 whiffs while allowing just one hit – a fourth-frame double from Franklinton’s Hayley Poole, who would eventually score on an error.
Jacobs, a William Peace University signee, was also sharp as she struck out three and scattered four hits.
In the finale, White’s two-run double in the top of the third gave Bunn some distance, and teammate Alli Davis, who has signed with the University of Mount Olive, chipped in with three RBI.
White struck out four and gave up just two hits to close out the important sweep.