Mideastern Conference Softball Tournament
No. 3 Hoggard 4 No. 2 Laney 2
Sophomore Mia Boone delivered a clutch two-run double in the top of the seventh to break a tie ball game as Hoggard pulled out a 4-2 triumph against Laney on Wednesday night.
With the result, the Vikings extended their winning streak to 10 straight games, improving to 20-6 overall. Meanwhile, Laney dropped to 16-7 on the spring and now wait to learn their seed when the 4A state tournament bracket is released this weekend.
“We’ve never beat Laney on their home field since I’ve been at Hoggard,” said junior Morgan Mathis. “So not only was it a big win because it gets us to the finals, it was a really big win for us just to get it at Laney.”
Mathis was dominant in the circle for Hoggard, moving to 13-5 on the bump this season. The junior right-handed hurler allowed one earned run on two hits in a complete game effort. She overcame four walks in the contest and struck out six.
The Bucs got on the board in the bottom of the first after Paige Cruse plated Savannah Capabianco from first with a humpback liner just inside the right field line for an RBI double.
Hoggard answered in their next at-bat with two runs on one hit. With two runners on and just one out, a wild pitch moved Aleah Thompson and Nia Green into scoring position. Brooke Benton tied the game with an RBI groundout and Boone lined a base hit up the middle to take the lead.
“I just tried to do my thing at the plate tonight,” Boone said. “We really wanted to get this win for Coach Ras[pberry]. He couldn’t be here because of a sickness in the family. This win was for him.”
With the 2-1 advantage, Mathis retired the side in order in the bottom of the second to get Hoggard back in the dugout, but freshman Tristen Horrell settled in nicely for Laney on the stripe.
Horrell retired 10 straight Vikings at one point and started an inning ending double play after she snagged a line drive up the middle to close the sixth.
Hoggard finished with just three hits in the contest. Boone went 2-for-3 at the plate with three runs batted in, while Thompson and Green scored two runs apiece. They reached base to start the seventh and after Benton advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt, Boone smacked an extra base hit to straight away center field to plate her teammates.
The Vikings face top-seeded Topsail in the Mideastern Conference Tournament Finals in Hampstead on Thursday. Hoggard dropped both games to the Pirates during the regular season.
“We need to stay positive in the dugout tomorrow,” Mathis added. “When we’re loud and cheering everyone on, it gets us going. If we can get the bats going, everyone will build off that.”
Box score R H E
Hoggard 020 000 2 4 3 1
Laney 100 100 0 2 2 0
WP: Morgan Mathis (7IP, 2R, 1ER, 2H, 4BB, 6K) LP: Tristen Horrell