BEAR CREEK — A terrific 2019 season officially came to an end for the Chatham Central softball team Thursday evening in Bear Creek as West Montgomery edged Chatham Central 3-2 in the second round …
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BEAR CREEK — A terrific 2019 season officially came to an end for the Chatham Central softball team Thursday evening in Bear Creek as West Montgomery edged Chatham Central 3-2 in the second round of the NCHSAA 1A State Playoffs.
Chatham Central closes the season at 14-4 overall after receiving an opening round bye following regular season and tournament titles out of the Central Tar Heel Conference.
West Montgomery (17-4), meanwhile, will move on to the third round where the Warriors will travel to Robbinsville (21-3) up in the Smokey Mountains in a game that was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The two teams, which met last year in the state playoffs in a game won 1-0 by the Bears, have saw the outcome of the last four games between the two former league foes decided by one run each time.
Chatham Central outhit West Montgomery 8-7 in the contest but simply could not get a timely hit when needed outside of two solo home runs by Mary Grace Murchison.
After squandering a Bailey Barker single in the first and a Lauren Oldham base hit in the second, Murchison stared at a 1-2 count with two outs in the home half of the third before driving a Ivey Black fastball over the fence in centerfield to give the Bears a 1-0 advantage.
The Warriors responded with a run in the top of the fourth when Abbey Alderman and Abby Yarboro walked to lead things off, both stole bases, and Alderman scored on a fly out by Madison Burris to Barker in centerfield. Barker made a heads up play by throwing to Oldham at third to cut down Yarboro, who would have scored moments later on a single by Kerstin Davenport if it weren’t for the heroics of Barker.
Oldham and Lauren Collins both singled in the bottom of the fourth, but the Bears could not plate a run.
That changed in the fifth, however, when Murchison was at it again, this time launching a one-out, first pitch from Blake over the fence in left field for her second homer of the contest.
While Chatham Central struggled to string hits together to push runs across outside of Murchison’s two round trippers, subsequently leading to seven runners stranded, West Montgomery did come through in the clutch, especially in its final two at-bats.
Alderman doubled to center, moved to third one out later on a passed ball, and then scored on an RBI-single to center by Burris to tie the game at 2-2.
Chatham Central would squander singles by Gracie Gaines and Oldham in the bottom of the sixth to send the contest into the final inning at a stalemate.
And once again, West Montgomery came up with a clutch hit, this time in the form of an RBI-single from Destiny Brown on a blooper to right field, which plated Kendall Davenport who had singled to left, and moved to second on a ground out to first by Grace Schulte Austim.
Blake would retire the Bears top of the lineup in order in the home half of the seventh to seal the victory for the Warriors.
Murchison led Chatham Central offensively with a 2-for-4 effort with two runs, two RBI and two homers while Oldham closed her final game as a Bear 3-for-3 at the plate.
Collins and Gaines were each 1-for-3 in the loss for the Bears while Barker was 1-for-4.
Redington suffered the loss on the mound after working all seven innings, throwing 101 pitches (61 percent for strikes), allowing seven hits, three runs (one earned), two balls and striking out three.
West Montgomery was paced offensively by Burris who was 1-for-2 with two RBI and a sacrifice fly while Alderman was 1-for-3 with two runs, a walk and a stolen base, Kendall Davenport 2-for-3 with a run, and Kerstin Davenport and Blake each 1-for-3.
Blake notched the win on the mound for the Warriors by going seven innings, throwing 69 pitches (75% for strikes), allowing eight hits, no walks, two runs and fanning two.