Gray's Creek caps perfect CFVC campaign
Lee County has had a superb softball season in its first go-around in the Cape Fear Valley Conference. The only problem was who the Lady Yellow Jackets ran up against in the CFVC Tournament final Thursday evening at Southern Lee.
Gray's Creek (20-1) finished a perfect 14-0 CFVC season and tournament campaign with offensive flurries in three straight innings for an 8-1 victory over Lee County (13-4).
Lee County went 12-0 against the other five schools in the conference, but fell three times to the Lady Bears.
Lady Jacket freshman Whitney Sanford started in the circle and held off Gray's Creek for two innings and was close to getting through the third inning unscathed as well.
The Lady Bears had the bases loaded and out one. Sanford got fifth-place hitter Emily Fox to hit a sharp grounder to Chandler Patterson, playing in at shortstop. Patterson threw home in time for a force out.
The next Lady Bear up, Taylor Strickland, hit a one-hopper to second baseman Savannah Patterson, who couldn't glove it in time, then threw wild to first. Two runs scored on the play.
Madison Perry followed with a two-run single and suddenly the Lady Bears led 4-0.
Meanwhile, senior pitcher Taylor Jackson was keeping the Lady Yellow Jackets off balance. The Jackets had plated double-digit runs in their last six games leading up to the final, dating back to a 7-4 loss to Gray's Creek.
Lee County got one runner aboard, but no more, and no runner reaching scoring position, in each of the first four innings.
The Lady Bears put two more runs up in the fourth. With two outs, Sarah Watson and Fox singled in one run each. Lee County brought Morgan Pedley on in relief for Sanford during the fourth.
The Lady Jackets broke up the shutout in the fifth. Sanford walked to start the inning and wound up scoring on Tessa Wilson's line-drive double into left-center field.
Jackson finished with a four-hitter and 11 strikeouts in a complete game.
Gray's Creek will be a No. 1 seed and Lee County a No. 2 seed in the NCHSAA 3A State Tournament which starts Wednesday. Union Pines and Douglas Byrd are the other two CFVC representatives.