Apex softball showed its hot start to this season has been no fluke, downing two-time defending Southwest Wake Athletic Conference champion Middle Creek 14-3 in six innings Tuesday night.
The Cougars (10-0, 7-0) stayed undefeated, but more importantly added a two-game cushion to their place atop the SWAC standings.
“This was huge, we knew this was going to be a game that we were going to have to fight for,” Apex coach Dana Higgins said. “Our goal is to win (the) conference and this is another step to reaching that goal.”
The Cougars fell into a 2-0 hole after allowing six straight hits with RBIs from Gianna Gravius and Samantha Kahn in the bottom of the third inning. But Apex responded with three runs of its own to open the fourth.
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After Middle Creek (10-3, 6-2) got an RBI from Lily Morris to send home Kylie McDonald to close the fourth inning, Apex ramped up the intensity both offensively and defensively.
Eight different players earned hits and runs for the Cougars as they stretched the lead to 11-3 in the fifth inning.
Samantha Pesot’s solo home run at the top of the sixth put the nail in the coffin that secured Apex’s 10th win in a row.
Julia Cerasi, who pitched a complete game for the Cougars, allowed only three hits in the final two innings and struck out three batters.
“She’s a pitcher that gets stronger as the game goes on, she works really hard,” Higgins said. “When the defense falls apart behind her, she buckles down and is able to take control of the game.”
Cerasi finished the night with seven strikeouts.
Alexis Bowman and Kaitlyn Long’s singles to open the fifth inning opened the floodgates for Apex, setting up RBIs for Cerasi, Pesot, Lauren Barrett and Shelby Poliachik.
They said it
“It’s behind us now and we know we can’t make mistakes against Apex and really anyone in this conference. The kids competed and I’m proud of the way they compete. We had a couple injuries tonight coming in and I asked them to step up and a lot of kids played hard and gave a little extra tonight.” – Middle Creek coach Robbie Wray
Three to know
Shelby Poliachik, Apex: 2-for-4 with five RBIs, one walk, one run and a steal.
Lauren Barrett, Apex: 4-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs.
Lily Morris, Middle Creek: 3-for-3 with one RBI, one run and a sacrifice bunt.
By the numbers
6: Players with multiple hits for Apex – Poliachik, Long, Olivia Chiarolanzio, Pesot (3), Barrett (3), and Casey Wright.
6: Players to have at least one hit for Middle Creek – Tianna Longley (2), Morris (3), Gravius (2), Camryn Druga, Kahn (2) and Claudia Penny (2). McDonald also got on base and had a run.