Any thoughts head coach Monte Sherrill and the Alexander Central High softball team might have had concerning a state championship went up in smoke Tuesday night. The defending state champions had their hopes squashed by Porter
Ridge (29-0), which had its dreams of a state championship shattered by the Cougars (28-2), last season. The Pirates avenged that loss by knocking off Alexander Central 1-0 in the Class 4A Western Regional semifinals in Taylorsville.
Kayleigh Jonas' two-out, run-scoring single in the top of the seventh inning scored Courtney Price with the with the winning run. The Pirates will play either Southeast Guilford (20-6) or North Davidson (26-3) on Thursday at a site to be determined. The winner of that game will advance to the state championship series in Raleigh, June 1-2.
The game featured a great pitching duel between Chelsea Wilkinson (who has signed with the University of Georgia) of the Cougars and Lexi Davis (an Auburn signee) of Porter Ridge. Those two were dominate throughout the game, giving up a combined total of four hits with 27 strikeouts and two walks.
Wilkinson struck out 17 of the 20 batters she faced, including 11 in a row to start the game. She was working on a perfect game before the Pirates rallied in the seventh. Price led off the inning with a double down the left-field line, and she scored on Jonas’s two-out single for the game’s only run. The Cougars were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and they left two runners on base.
Their best scoring chance came In the sixth. But with runners at first and third and two outs, Pirates’ left fielder Tara Lokin made a shoestring catch on a fly ball off the bat of Wilkinson to end the inning. Davis, who picked up the win, struck out seven and walked one.
TIGERS ADVANCE TO REGIONAL FINALS
The Fred T. Foard High softball team made its way to the Class 3A Western Regional finals Tuesday night with a dramatic 1-0, ten-inning victory over Franklin in Newton. Taylor Brown's bloop single with the bases loaded scored Olivia Purvis with the game-winning run. The win moves Foard (23-4) into the regional finals Thursday night. The Tigers will play either, Weddington (15-10) or North Iredell (20-3). Those teams hook up in Olin tonight at 5 p.m.
Winning pitcher Lexi Shubert of the Tigers had 18 strikeouts. She escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the tenth. Shubert retired Morgan Cochran on an infield fly, and she struck out Kaitlin Sanders to end the inning. Foard, which finally broke through with a run in the tenth inning, left six runners on base.
COUGARS BLANK INDIANS IN REGIONAL FINALS
The Charlotte Catholic High women's soccer team made its way back to the state championship game Tuesday night by knocking off St. Stephens 1-0 in the Class 3A Western Regional finals in Charlotte. Jane Cline scored the game's only goal at the 44-minute mark of the second half. He shot bounced off defender Amanda Hall of the Indians and into the net.
The Cougars (25-1-1), who won the Class 3A title last year, will play Jacksonville-White Oak (21-2-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at North.Carolina State University in Raleigh for the state title. White Oak advanced Tuesday night by eliminating Cardinal Gibbons 2-1. The Indians ended their best season in school history with a record of 22-2-2.
The Indians had two very good chances to tie the game in the second half, but came away empty. Kalyn Meosky’s shot in the 47th minute was stopped by Catholic goalkeeper Morgan Luckie; and Hannah Hunt just missed a shot to the right of the net in the 50th minute. The Indians had six shots in the second half and 11 in the game.