South Central’s softball team pounced on C.B. Aycock, scoring five times in the first inning en route to a 9-2 victory Wednesday night in a key Eastern Carolina 3A/4A Conference matchup.
The victory keeps South Central’s Falcons tied in the loss colum for first the conference standings at 9-1 as they improve to 18-2 overall. D.H. Conley is at 8-1 in the league and 18-2 overall after sweeping Southern Wayne on Wednesday. Aycock’s Golden Falcons slip to 6-3 in the ECC and 15-3 overall, and had a nine-game winning streak stopped. South Central and the Vikings are scheduled to face off again May 4 at Conley.
South Central coach Cotton Nicholson was not only pleased with the win, but also pleased with the contributions his three seniors – catcher Lauren Conway, pitcher Abi Rowell and shortstop Lindsey McCallum – made in their final home game.
Conway’s single in the first inning drove in leadoff hitter Madison Deanes to start the scoring.
Rowell went the distance to earn the win. She gave up four hits and two runs, both earned, struck out two and did not walk a batter.
McCallum laced a two-out single to center field to drive in Deanes in the fourth inning, helping South Central score its first run since the first inning, and let Aycock know it hadn’t checked out of the game early.
“Perfect senior night against a great team,” Nicholson said in summary.
In the decisive first, South Central scored five times on just two hits, four walks and numerous wild pitches.
“Walks kill you,” Aycock coach Lavon Matthews said. “You can’t do that. When you’re playing a good team, you cannot do that.”
In addition to Conway’s RBI single, Cam Davis walked and later scored on a wild pitch. Marissa Roach reached on ball-four wild pitch and went to second on the play. Amya Evans doubled into the right-field corner to drive in Hannah Bailey – pinch-running for Conway – and Roach. Evans later scored on a wild pitch.
Aycock starter Taylor Waddell didn’t make it out of the first, yielding one hit and four runs in 2/3 of an inning.
“If we hadn’t walked a batter or made an error, we weren’t going to beat them,” Matthews said. “They outplayed us. They beat us. Tonight was not our night.”
Though Hannah Vinson led off the second with a single, stole second and scored to get Aycock on the board in the second, South Central never let up.
With a 6-1 lead in the fifth inning, South Central added three more runs. Conway singled and later scored on a wild pitch, Roach blooped a single and scored on Jessica Purcell’s sacrifice fly, and Evans reached again on a single and went home on a single by Deanes.
While that’s always a positive point of discussion for coaches, it wasn’t lost on Nicholson as South Central built an 8-0 lead on Aycock in a game last year only to lose 16-8.
“Don’t ever assume you have the game won against a good team,” Nicholson said. “They don’t ever give up.”
Aycock’s Alison Shingleton proved the point again with a home run in the sixth inning.
Roach finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk and two runs scored. Evans added two hits, including the two-run single in the first, and scored twice. Conway went 2-for-2 with a walk and a sac bunt.