CORNELIUS – A high-scoring affair ended with the potential winning run on base that gave the Hickory Ridge softball team an 11-10 victory over Hough in the second round of the 4A playoffs.
The Ragin’ Bulls from Harrisburg entered the seventh inning with a one-run lead that everyone in the stadium knew wasn’t going to be enough based on the way the offenses had performed. They got the insurance they needed in a solo home run off the bat – and glove of the Hough center fielder – of Jenny Ceglie, followed by Grace Bechtol’s two-run rocket over the fence.
The 11-7 lead in the final frame quickly became perilous, as Hough loaded the bases with no outs, and heavy-hitting Anna Partridge up to bat. Partridge, who had 3 RBIs on the night, grounded into a fielder’s choice, but her teammates picked her up to make it a one-run game. Hickory Ridge freshman pitcher Kristyn Embler made sure there would be no more fireworks, and struck out the final two Hough batters.
The game featured two ties and three lead changes, as both starting pitchers were knocked out of the game, including the Bulls’ Elon commit Anna Dew. After she was padded a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, the Huskies tied it via a home run by Madden McMahan-Waters. On the blustery night, the wind blowing out to center helped carry it over the fence.
After Hough starter Simone Mack was pulled for Morgan Flowe down 5-2 in the fourth, Flowe proceeded to hit just her second home run of the season to tie the game at 5. The Bulls scored three runs that inning following a two-out Hough error on a soft line drive.
Hough ended the year 20-5 after going unbeaten in the Queen City 3A/4A. Hickory Ridge will travel to South Meck Tuesday.
Here are other lake-area second-round scores:
(4) Mooresville 2, Piedmont 1 (8 inn.)
(5) East Forsyth 3, (12) Lake Norman High
(1) East Lincoln 4, (17) East Rowan 0
Up Next: vs. (8) Hibriten
(3) North Buncombe 4, (14) North Lincoln 1
(6) Bandys 6, (22) North Stanly 2
(7) Mountain Island Charter 9, (10) Queen’s Grant 0
Up Next: at (2) East Wilkes