GREENVILLE — A youthful Cape Fear Christian Academy softball team battled Lawrence Academy into the ninth inning in the NCISAA 1-A softball semifinals on Friday at Oakwood School.
The second-seeded Warriors advanced to the final with a 9-8 win, scoring the winning run with one out after loading the bases in the final frame. The third-seeded Eagles finished the season 10-9 with the toughest 1-A schedule in the state.
Top-seeded Halifax Academy (18-2) topped Lawrence (21-4) for the championship by a 7-2 score in the final game Friday. The event had been reduced from double elimination to single elimination due to rain, which resulted in a delay in the CFCA-Lawrence game. Play continued several times during showers.
Halifax turned back fourth-seeded Ridgecroft (12-8) in the opening game Friday, 13-4.
UNC Greensboro signee Delaney Cumbie, the lone senior for the Eagles, gave CFCA a 3-0 lead with a homer to left in the top of the first after a walk to Paige Jeffries and a single by Jada Horne.
Lawrence answered with a wind-aided grand slam by eighth-grader Claire Dail in the bottom of the first. Jeffries appeared to have bead on the fly ball in center before it sailed over the fence.
“The wind got it,” Jeffries said.
The Warriors extended their lead to 6-3 with a pair of runs in the third. Jeffries walked, Jada Horne singled and Cumbie had an RBI single as CFCA drew within 6-4 in the fourth.
The Eagles scored three times in the sixth to lead 7-6 as Jada Horne, Cumbie, Kristen Bass and Rhyleigh Horne had hits. Jeffries and Meghan Taylor drew walks. Claire Parker was hit by a pitch to force in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded.
Lawrence scored twice in the sixth for an 8-7 lead.
CFCA tied the score in the seventh on an RBI double by Jada Horne after a single by Jeffries.
“Really a great defensive game with some offensive spurts,” said CFCA coach Sterling Holmes. “We talked all year about playing fearless and the girls bought in. … The future is bright.”
There are no juniors on the CFCA roster. Starting pitcher Rhyleigh Horne, who went two and one-third innings with four strikeouts, is a seventh-grader. Sophomore Jada Horne finished in the circle, allowing three runs (one earned) over the last six innings.
The Eagles had a 12-9 lead in hits as Jada Horne was 4-for-6 with a double. Jeffries was 3-for-4 with a walk. Cumbie was 3-for-4 with the three-run homer, an intentional walk and four RBIs. Bass was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Holmes announced following the game that Cumbie and Jeffries had been named to the NCISAA all-state team.