Wildcats Win First Softball Playoff Game in School History
Wildcats took the lead first but had to wrest it back to defeat East Wake 2-1 on Wednesday in the first round of the NCHSAA 4A championship tournament.
East Chapel Hill scored first in the bottom of the third inning. The scoring opporturnity started with a bunt single by Ella Pedersen. Jenny “The Jet” Suwanmanee took a 2-0 pitch in the thigh, putting 2 on base. A double steal forced an errant throw by the Warrior catcher and Pedersen was able to scamper home to put the Wildcats on the board.
East Wake shortstop, Kiesha Little, led off the top of the fifth with a sinking line drive near the foul line in left field. East Chapel Hill left field, Elle Pedersen, made a daring dive to snare it but the ball was just out of reach and went to the fence. Little beat the throw to the plate by a full step tying the game with what would end up being the Warriors only run of the game.
The Wildcats reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the 5th inning when catcher Kayla Characklis reached on an error. Ella Pedersen sacrified her to 2nd. The Jet then appeared to have sacrificed her to third but on the play at first the ball was muffed, allowing The Jet to reach safely and Characklis to race to the plate with what would turn out to be the winning run.
The Warriors out hit the Wildcats 6-2 but they also had 11 LOB compared to only 2 LOB for East Chapel Hill. Ten of East Wake’s stranded runners were in scoring position.
Agatucci earned the win for Wildcats. She threw seven innings, gave up one run (earned) on six hits, walked four and struck out two. Swiger took the loss for East Wake. She went six innings, gave up two runs (1 earned) on two hits, struck out two, and issued no walks but did put The Jet on board with a HBP.
The Pedersens, Claire and Ella, accounted for both of the Wildcats’ hits
Kiesha Little led East Wake with one run batted in on her inside-the-park-home-run. She went 1-for-3 on the day.
East Chapel Hill’s victory is their first ever in the NCHSAA Softball Championship Tournament. This is the Wildcats 13th appearance in the playoffs with 2 coming in 3A (’98 & ’03) the rest in 4A (’07 – current).
The Wildcats travel to Wake Forest to take on the #2 seed, Heritage,
the CAP-8 regular season champion. That second round game is set for
Friday May 12, at 6:00pm
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