Coming off an emotional seventh-inning rally to secure the opening game of the 3A East Regional, the Topsail softball team was unable to seize the momentum against top-ranked C.B. Aycock on Wednesday as the Golden Falcons evened the best-of-three series at one game apiece following a 5-2 result in Hampstead.
With the bounce back win, No. 1 C.B. Aycock improved to 28-2 overall. Meanwhile, No. 3 Topsail saw their overall record fall to 26-4 this spring.
“We were flat tonight right from the get-go,” said Topsail Coach Jay Abston. “The error in the first inning on the first batter set the tone for the entire game.”
Five miscues by the Pirates led to three unearned runs in the ball game, while Taylor Waddell delivered a strong performance in the circle to keep Topsail’s offense at bay. The junior right-handed pitcher gave up two runs – both unearned – on three hits, with six strikeouts.
The Golden Falcons grabbed an early 1-0 advantage after Connor Vinson reached base on a throwing error to lead off the top of the first. A stolen base and throwing error moved Vinson to third and younger sister Hannah Vinson drove in the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Topsail responded in the third, but a diving backhanded stab by Mookie Powell ended the Pirates’ threat as Waddell went on to retire 11 of the next 12 batters faced in order after the big play at third base.
“They came to play today,” Abston added. “They’re number one in the state for a reason and if you want to take their spot you have to show up. We didn’t show up tonight.”
Two runs on four hits in the fifth, including an RBI single by Cara Lenzi, gave C.B. Aycock a 3-0 lead and the Golden Falcons added two more insurance runs in the seventh to send the series to a decisive game three.
Down to their final three outs, the Pirates spoiled the shutout thanks to a one-out single by Danielle Parks and four-pitch walk issued to Hunter Bizzell. They both came around to score on a two-base fielding error, but the Pirates were unable recapture the magic from the day prior.
Bizzell reached base four times to pace the Topsail lineup. Powell and Connor Vinson combined to get on base in six plate appearances for C.B. Aycock, while Cassandra Lassiter went 2-for-4.
“Right before the last inning we talked about getting something going and bringing that into tomorrow,” Abston said. “We need to put the ball on the ground, make plays and get back to playing our type of game.”
Topsail makes the trip back to Pikeville for the second time in three days on Thursday in a winner-take-all contest against the Golden Falcons. The victor advances to the 3A NCHSAA Championship.
Box score R H E
C.B. Aycock 100 020 2 5 7 2
Topsail 000 000 2 2 3 5
WP: Taylor Waddell LP: Victoria Elder
2A softball: No. 3 Topsail (26-4) vs. No. 1 C.B. Aycock (28-2)
3A softball: Game 1: Topsail 9, C.B. Aycock 7; Game 2:C.B. Aycock 5, Topsail 2; Game 3 at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 26 at C.B. Aycock