It will take one more game for East Lincoln to win the West Region NCHSAA 3A softball championship and a trip to the state championship series. They came close Thursday evening (May 25th) but lost to Rockingham County by a 5-4 score.
East led 4-3 going into the 7th inning, but the Cougars got a two-run walk-off home run to take the second game in the series and force a third and deciding game at East Lincoln Friday at 6 PM.
East Lincoln got off to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Taniyah Thomas got on base on an error; Tatum Martin then walked and the Mustangs got a bases loaded hit by Madison Currence to take a 2-0 lead. Then Lyla Haywood, who had hit a sacrifice fly Tuesday to give East a win in that game, hit one to the fence in centerfield and the Mutangs were up 3-0.
Rockingham County got a runner on base but didn't score in the first, second or third. In the fourth inning, Martin singled to drive in another run making it 4-0; but with two outs, Rockingham County got a three-run homer. Leah Correll then struck out the next batter and it was 4-3 going into the 5th inning. In the fifth, Rockingham County got runners on second and third but Correll ended the threat with a strikeout. Neither team scored in the sixth.
In the seventh, the Mustangs came close but stranded two runners. Two outstanding fielding plays kept East from scoring. The first was a diving catch by the centerfielder; then the leftfielder robbed Betsy Eatmon of what could have been a home run.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars got their leadoff batter on base and a two-run home run followed. The 5-4 loss means East still needs one more win for the West Region championship. They'll try to get that at 6 PM Friday at East Lincoln.
For the night, Lyla Haywood batted 2 for 4 including a double and an rbi; Tatum Martin batted 1 for 3, scored a run and batted in one. Madison Currence had the other Mustang hit batting 1 for 2 with two rbi's. Correll struck out 8 and walked just two; she gave up five hits, but two of those were home runs. The Mustangs left six runners on base.
The Burns Bulldogs made their long trip to Eden (not far from the Virginia state line) worthwhile as they beat Morehead 13-6, sweeping the best of three series 2-0 in games and claiming the West Region NCHSAA 2A baseball championship. The win means that Burns will play in its first ever NCHSAA state championship series next weekend against the winner of a Friday night (May 26th) game between South Granville and Camden County. South Granville won their Thursday night game at Camden after the Bruins had won a 10-inning game on Tuesday; the score of both games (with each team winning one) was 6-3.
Marshall McGowan had three hits including a double and batted in five runs for Burns; Gabe Holiday also had three hits. Hagan Hoyle and Reid Stroupe each had two hits.
The site of the state championship series hasn't been announced. It will either be at Holly Springs (southwest of Raleigh) or in Burlington. In either case, one game will be played Friday night and one or two on Saturday (best of three series).
WOHS Radio (Shelby, 1390AM, 101.5FM) will carry the games; you can also hear them online at http://www.ktcbroadcasting.com/.
The South Point girls soccer team from Gaston County beat St. Stephens 7-1 Thursday to advance to a 3A West Region championship contest with West Henderson on Tuesday (May 30th). West Henderson is the team that eliminated East Lincoln earlier in the week.