Eastern Alamance Softball Wins Game 1 of NCHSAA Championship Series
GREENSBORO — Eastern Alamance’s Kenzie Taylor pulled a rabbit out of a hat with the game on the line Friday night.
In a game with three combination hits between two teams, it was what originally looked like a routine single from Taylor that ended Game 1 of the Class 3-A State Softball Championship. NCHSAA.
Taylor snatched a ball to center field that snuck past the North Buncombe outfielder and forced Taylor to turn on the jets.
“I turned it on,” Taylor said. “I knew I was fast enough, but not that fast.”
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Eastern Alamance coach Danny Way waved Taylor home and she scored on a single with a three-base error, giving the top-seeded Eagles a 1-0 victory over the header. series #3, North Buncombe, in a battle between two future Division I pitchers.
“All the way (I was sending Taylor home) because I knew the ball was a little slippery. And we’re taking risks,” Way said. “We have always been quite aggressive.
“She finds a way. He’s the unsung hero. Her first year here, she made a basic running mistake in first year. She really took it the wrong way. So, there you go. It’s really kind of made up .”
Pitcher Kenna Raye Dark, the North Carolina signee, was dominant, allowing just one hit, one walk and striking out 13 in an all-game effort for the Eagles (26 -2).
“I really do my best,” Dark said. “I said, ‘I got you all. I just need you to support me. This is where I need you right now. They made it through the last inning. It was really big. It made me emotional, I started crying. “
Tennessee signee Karlyn Pickens struck out 13 and allowed just one run and three hits to lead the Black Hawks (25-2).
North Buncombe’s first hit against Dark came in the top of the seventh inning, when Cheyanne Cable led off with a brace. The Eagles tagged Cable on a preview between second and third, but it allowed Shayna Higgins to reach her bunt. A pitched ball to first base after the out sailed into right field to allow Higgins to reach third.
Dark provided the first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth, sending a ball down the warning lane for a double. Melody Herrera entered the game to race for Dark and qualified for second on wild terrain in the dark. On a second straight wild pitch, Herrera headed home where she was tagged by Pickens to keep the Eagles off the board.
David Kehrli is a sports reporter for the Burlington Times-News and the USA Today Network. You can reach him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DavidKehrliTN. Subscribe to the Burlington Times-News here.