Holly Springs’ baseball and softball teams kept their seasons alive Friday with a pair of wins in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
The softball team erupted offensively in the fifth inning to take an 11-1, 10-run rule win over West Johnston. The baseball team rode the outstanding pitching of sophomore Matt Willadsen to a 3-0 win over South Central from Pitt County.
In round three, scheduled for Tuesday, the boys will host another local team, Cardinal Gibbons, and the softball team will hit the road to face South Central’s softball team, an 8-1 winner over Apex.
Both teams entered the game 17-4, but the Golden Hawks jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning and never trailed.
Holly Springs led 4-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. The Golden Hawks batted around in the inning and used five base hits and some shaky fielding by the Wildcats to end the contest.
Catcher Abby Anderson came to the plate with two outs and her team ahead 9-1. Shortstop Ari Kuchtor, who had tripled was on third when Anderson hit a fly ball. A West outfielder slipped trying to catch the ball and Anderson scored the final run as the throw to the plate was wide.
Holly Springs beat Cardinal Gibbons 10-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
“With the year we’ve had I’m not surprised we can 10-run a team, but I am a little surprised we are doing it in the playoffs,” Holly Springs coach Emily Pierce said. “Our one and two hitters (M. K. Myers and Alex Frothingham) usually project confidence in out team, but we’ve gotten big hits all through the lineup, one through nine.”
Centerfielder Myer and second baseman Brittany Brown each had two hits. Junior Sydney Collins pitched the five innings, surrendered four hits, and got the win.
“She had one of her better games,” Pierce said. “Instead of feeling the pressure of a playoff game, she is actually pitching better.”