D.H. Conley’s softball team had been ready for this Tuesday’s showdown with C.B. Aycock since April 21 of last year. Aycock’s 2-1 win on that day was the last time the Vikings had lost a regular season game, and with it the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference title.
But Conley, the No. 2 team in The News & Observer’s rankings, exacted some revenge with a 10-4 victory against No. 1 Aycock.
“We had to prove we could go out there and score with this team,” Conley coach Wayne Deans said. “We have to be productive 1-through-9.”
Conley (6-0, 2-0) scored two runs in the bottom of the first on aggressive baserunning.
With one out, Madison Bowens walked, but the ball went to the backstop, so Bowens dashed to second. Two batters later, after Bowens had moved to third, Grace Cochran walked and did something similar. She sprinted to first base and took a big turn toward second. The move distracted Aycock pitcher Taylor Waddell, who pump-faked a throw, just long enough for Bowens to steal home.
Later, Cochran scored on a passed ball to take a 2-0 lead.
Conley tacked on another in the third to make it 3-0 on an RBI double to Cochran.
Aycock (6-1, 1-1) tallied two in the top of the fifth on RBI singles from Connor Vinson and Mookie Powell to make it 3-2.
Conley’s Makenna Matthijs homered in the bottom half of the inning to extend the lead to 4-2, but the rest of the game was all Vikings. Conley scored six in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a sac fly from Bowens, RBI single from Matthijs and a three-run homer from Lexi Phillips.
Aycock’s Hannah Vinson drew a bases-loaded walk and Taylor Puetz hit a sac fly to score the game’s final runs.
The Golden Falcons had 13 total hits on the night, but couldn’t move the runners as Conley pitcher Emily Kirby got the win. Aycock coach Lavon Matthews told his players to keep their heads up.
“We know there’s a few areas in our game we need to work on. So far, it’s defense. We’re making too many errors,” Aycock coach Lavon Matthews said. “They’re trying to do more than they need to do. They rush throws. ... We’ll get it all straight.”