Cape Fear Christian Academy’s softball team was facing the wrong team on the wrong day when the NCISAA 1-A softball championship series concluded at Halifax on Saturday.
The Eagles, regular-season and tournament champions of the Sandhills Athletic Conference, finished 11-4-1 with all four losses to the Vikings in a pair of Saturday doubleheaders.
After topping top-seeded Halifax 6-3 in the opener of the best of three state championship series on Friday, CFCA, the No. 3 seed, was denied a second straight state title by scores of 6-5 in eight innings and 4-0 on Saturday.
The Eagles won the 2019 state championship. The state tournament was not played last year due to the COVID pandemic.
CFCA rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the bottom of the seventh in the first game Saturday to tie the score at 5.
Cailee Ray went 3-for-3 in the first game Saturday. Kristina Kennedy, Rhyleigh Horne and Kim Bordeaux had two hits each. Mariah Bell and Kailynn Cumbie had one hit apiece.
After a complete game Friday, Claire Parker pitched five and two-thirds innings in the first game Saturday. Horne went the rest of the day in the circle for the Eagles.
“We had our opportunities to win,” said Eagles coach Sterling Holmes of the opener on Saturday. “A baserunning error in the seventh ended the rally. In the eighth, another baserunning error prevented us from tying it up.”
Holmes credited the shutout pitching of Berkley Garner as the deciding factor in the final game as CFCA was limited to four hits — two each by Horne and Averi Williams.
Halifax had taken wins at CFCA on March 13 by scores of 13-8 and 9-2. The championship series was more competitive, indicating the progress that the Eagles made during an 11-game winning streak.
Holmes posted a picture of the runner-up trophy on the team’s group chat.
“Congratulations to our varsity on finishing No. 2 in the state of North Carolina,” said the CFCA coach. “You put in a lot of hard work this year to be one of the last two teams standing. Well done!”
Halifax has dropped from the 2-A class to 1-A since CFCA won the state title two years ago. The Vikings have four seniors on the 2021 team.
CFCA’s lone senior this year is second baseman Anslee McLamb.