Fuquay-Varina found out just why Cape Fear is still undefeated this late in the season Friday night as the Colts ended the Bengals season, 7-1, in the fourth round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A softball playoffs.
The win puts Cape Fear (27-0) in the East Regional finals next week, a best-of-three series against Greenville’s D. H. Conley.
Fuquay (19-4) won the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference championship, but ran into a strong team in Cape Fear, that features senior ace pitcher Aubrey Reep, a good hitting lineup from top to bottom, and also plays good defense.
The Colts are also on a mission, having lost out in the state finals two years ago and in the Regional finals last year.
“We’ve played better as the season has gone on, and really peaked the last two games,” Cape Fear coach Jeff McPhail said. “We’ve been knocking on the door of that state championship and we really wanted to get back to the Regionals after last year.”
Bengals coach Deb Clarke had nothing but praise for Cape Fear.
“They’ve had a fantastic season and are on a fantastic run in the playoffs,” Clarke said. “I wish them the best the rest of the way. But I’m also really proud of my girls. They play all seven innings, there’s no quit in them.”
Aubrey Reep, the only senior in the starting lineup for the Colts, belted her sixth homer of the year, scattered six Fuquay hits, and struck out 12. She will play at Wingate next year.
Reep and junior first baseman Bri Bryant homered and everyone in the lineup for the Colts reached base at least once in the game.
“We knew Fuquay would be a very good team and we like to face a challenge,” Reep said. “Tonight we kept our energy up and hit the ball well.”
Haley Cashwell, a junior shortstop and leadoff hitter, had three of her team’s 12 hits and has an on base percentage of nearly .650 this season.
Fuquay-Varina’s Cathan Soto had two hits including a double that drove in Ashlyn Long for the Bengals’ only run.
“Their pitcher was good with good speed and a rise ball,” the sophomore first baseman said. “I was trying for the seniors, because we have a good team and a really good group of seniors.”
The Bengals will lose four senior starters, pitcher Cassidy Keith, catcher Hayden Parker, leftfielder Gwendy Powell, and shortstop Long, who was the conference Player of the Year.