WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest-Rolesville has been a Tri-9 Conference killer this postseason.
The Cougars, coming off wins against Holly Springs, Green Hope and Apex in consecutive rounds, had to score two runs the hard way Tuesday to get past Middle Creek, 2-0, and advance to its first NCHSAA 4A East softball regional since 2006.
Sometimes you hate it when youre right, but softballs a weird game, Wake Forest coach Doug Kinsman said. Its a game of inches and sometimes screwy plays. We load the bases up and if we get a base hit, we make it so easy on ourselves but some plays you can take it any way you can get it.
The Cougars came into the game having scored multiple runs in the first inning in the first three rounds of the playoffs; but in the bottom of the fourth Tuesday, Wake Forest-Rolesville found itself with no runs and no hits.
Three Cougars batters later, the bases were loaded with no outs.
Cassidy Dahle, lead-off hitter for the inning, was forced out at home after a ground ball by Anna Wolfe, and Middle Creek pitcher Kiley Majette struck out the next batter.
With the bases still loaded but two outs, the Cougars were in a tight spot.
Senior Leah Siver was up next. Midway through Sivers at-bat, a ball got past Middle Creek catcher Erica Adams just enough for Wake Forest pinch-runner Tor DeLuke to score the first run of the game.
An inning later, Allison Scarboro scored again for Wake Forest.
Caught in a rundown between third and home, Scarboro was awarded the score when Middle Creek was called for obstruction on the third-base line.
The scores were enough to push the Cougars on and end the year for the Mustangs (19-5).
We knew coming over here it was going to be a tough game against a good Wake Forest-Rolesville team, said Middle Creek coach Robbie Wray. We played them last year and it was tight game over here and we came out on top. I told (the team) if we played hard and played well, maybe the outcome would be our way again. Unfortunately it didnt quite happen that way for us tonight.
Middle Creeks Camille Hobson reached base in the top of the seventh with one out. The next batter for the Mustangs, Lauren Panella, fired a shot to right field, but Siver made a leaping catch to haul in the second out and prevent Hobson from advancing.
Wake Forest-Rolesville pitcher Brittaney Dahle got the final out at the mound for her 12th strikeout of the game.
The Mustangs will see only four players graduate: Lexy Garrett, Tyler Ross, Emily Franks and Hobson.