It’s been an up and down year for Cape Fear Christian Academy’s softball team, but the Eagles are currently riding a high after winning their first round game of the NCISAA 1A playoffs 10-4 against Northeast Academy.
“All the way through the lineup they hit the ball,” said CFCA softball coach Sterling Holmes. “They made the plays when they needed to make the plays. The wind got us a couple of times with some stuff, but other than that I was very happy with our performance. From top to bottom, we played pretty solid.”
The Eagles pieced together 10 runs on seven hits and did a solid job of putting the ball in play, as they only struck out three times as a team.
Junior Jada Horne led the way offensively with two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored. Eighth-grader Rhyleigh Horne added two hits, including a double, and two RBIs. Junior Kristin Bass doubled and scored two runs. Freshman Claire Parker doubled and scored one run. Eighth-grader Shelby Hodges had one hit.
“We’ve got a young team, but they aren’t necessarily inexperienced,” Holmes said. “A lot of them play travel ball when school’s out. We’ve got a really talented bunch of girls, and I’m excited to see how we do.”
Rhyleigh Horne pitched the complete game for CFCA (11-7), allowing no earned-runs on five hits while striking out 10.
“Ryleigh pitched us to third in the state last year, she threw the ball really well today, so we’re expecting really big things from her,” Holmes said.
Both teams scored one in the first inning, but CFCA broke away in the bottom of the second with five runs, thanks to a two-run single from Jada Horne and a couple of errors, to make it 6-1.
Errors caught up with CFCA in the top of the third as they gave up three unearned runs to let Northeastern cut it to 6-4. But the Eagles pulled away in the bottom half with four runs to go up 10-4. From there, they held on with strong defense.
CFCA, the No. 4 seed in the 1A playoffs, will host Friday’s Final Four. They’ll kick things off against No. 1 seed Lawrence Academy (14-6) at 10 a.m. Following that game will be No. 2 Ridgecroft School (13-5) and No. 3 Pungo Christian Academy (20-4) around noon. The tournament is double elimination, so the losers of both games will play game three around 2 p.m., while the winners will play game four at 4 p.m. The winner of game three and loser of game four will play at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the winner of that game will play the winner of game four for the championship at 12 p.m. If the team coming out of the loser’s bracket wins the first game, the deciding game will be played 30 minutes later.
“I think we’ve got a chance to be contenders,” Holmes said. “I think it’s going to be tough, but I think if we play well, play the way we’re capable of playing, we’ll have a shot.