Facing the pressure of elimination, C.B. Aycock beat Topsail 5-2 Wednesday at Williams Softball Complex to send the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A East softball series to a deciding Game 3.
Aycock (28-2) will host the final game of the best-of-3 series at 6 p.m. Thursday. Topsail (26-4) had rallied to win 9-7 Tuesday.
The Falcons got one run in the first, two in the fifth and two in the seventh – and junior pitcher Taylor Waddell made the offense hold up. Waddell was stellar, pitching a four-hitter. She walked five and struck out six and gave up only two unearned runs.
The Pirates didn’t get a runner to third until the final inning. Waddell had retired 11 of 12 batters before Danielle Parks’ bunt single with two outs in the seventh. Two errors led to the Topsail runs before Waddell got Victoria Elder to ground out to end the game.
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The Falcons struck first in the first. Leadoff hitter Connor Vinson reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hannah Vinson.
Aycock then flashed some good defense. Topsail’s Hunter Bizzell walked to lead off the first inning, but first baseman Mackenzie Wheeler picked a hard-hit ball off the bat of Alyssa Randall, stepped on first and threw to shortstop Madison Walton, who tagged Bizzell out for a double play.
Aycock, which committed three errors that led to seven unearned runs in Game 1, was sharp on defense early. With Topsail runners on first and second and two outs in the third, third baseman Mookie Powell snared a chopper hit to her right off the bat of Hayley Grizzell and stepped on third to end the threat.
Wheeler made a diving stop of a line drive from Christine McLean in the fourth to save a hit.
The bottom of the order helped produced two more runs in the fifth for C.B. Aycock. No. 7 hitter Cassandra Lassiter walked, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Cara Lenzi. Powell’s infield single that went about 10 feet would score Georgia Parnell, who ran for Lenzi, for a 3-0 lead.
Aycock had two runners in scoring position in the sixth but couldn’t score. Wheeler walked, and Lassiter doubled – getting a second chance when catcher McLean dropped a foul pop. Wheeler had to hold up to see if right fielder Maddy Laster had a play and couldn’t score from first.
Abbie Walton then hit back to pitcher Victoria Elder for the second out, and Parnell struck out.
The Falcons got an insurance run in the seventh when shortstop Bizzell, trying for a double play, threw over first baseman’s Randall’s head, allowing Powell to score. Wheeler then drilled a single to score Madison Walton for a 5-0 lead.
Flags were flying at half-staff at the field in memorial of Topsail High junior Tomas Hall Green, who was killed Wednesday in a hit-and-run accident on U.S. 17.