Cape Fear Christian Academy’s varsity softball team made a 280-mile round trip to Belhaven during a gas shortage on Tuesday, getting back home with a 6-2 win over Pungo Christian in the semifinals of the NCISAA 1-A tournament.
The Eagles plan to gas-up again for the state championship series at Halifax Academy, around 100 miles away, for a best two-of-three on Friday and Saturday.
CFCA met Pungo and Halifax at the outset of the season. CFCA defeated Pungo for the 2019 state championship — the last time the state event was played — and led off 2021 with a 6-6 tie in eight innings at home against the Raiders before darkness curtailed the contest.
Kristina Kennedy, a seventh-grader who was not playing varsity when the teams tied on March 5, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs on Tuesday as CFCA (10-2-1) won its 10th straight game.
Averi Williams was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Winning pitcher Claire Parker had a hit and an RBI.
Mariah Bell, Cailee Ray and Kim Bordeaux each had two hits and scored a run.
Parker allowed six hits, one earned run and walked one while striking out nine in seven innings.
CFCA coach Sterling Holmes cited several defensive plays as the Eagles advanced.
Shortstop Rhyleigh Horne tracked down a foul ball on the run for the final out in the fourth inning and pegged a relay throw to third for a tag out to close the sixth.
Ray snagged a line drive to third by the leadoff batter in the seventh.
A little luck also benefited the visitors. A Raiders scoring opportunity was nullified after host pitcher Reagan Stoop singled and stole second. She was running to third when she was hit on the foot by a batted ball for an out.
Pungo was the No. 2 seed in the state tournament.
Halifax, the top seed for the playoffs, advanced Tuesday with a 6-5 win at home over Lawrence, the No. 4 seed.
CFCA, the No. 3 seed, hosted Halifax for a doubleheader on March 13 with the visitors taking wins by scores of 13-8 and 9-2.