3A Softball Championship: Alexander Central stuns Cleveland with three in seventh to force extras and takes series with 6-4 win in 11 innings
GREENSBORO – Alexander Central claimed the school’s sixth fast-pitch state championship as they stormed back from three runs down in the final inning to knock off Cleveland 6-4 in eleven innings.
The Cougars found themselves down 4-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh when they mounted a furious comeback to tie the game and force extra innings. Lanie Goforth drew a two-out walk to get the comeback started, advancing to second on a sharply hit single by Julie Gast to short. That set the stage for Chesney Millsaps to slap an RBI single to center and trim the Rams lead to 4-2. Alexis Walter’s RBI double to right brought home two more runs to tie the game at 4 and push the game to additional frames.
Both teams held each other in check in extra innings until the top of the eleventh when Alexa Rash singled with one out for Alexander Central. She advanced to second and third on a pair of passed balls before Gracie Rhoney brought her home with a sacrifice fly to give Alexander Central a 5-4 lead. The Cougars added some insurance with a Gast RBI single to score Goforth.
Cleveland managed to work a runner into scoring position in the bottom of the eleventh, but the Rams could not get any runs across as Chesney Millsaps shut down any momentum the Rams tried to generate in the extra innings. Millsaps was named the series M.V.P. going the distance in both games. She held the Rams to three hits in game one and 10 hits through 11 innings in game two while striking out eight Cleveland batters. She also went 3 for 6 with a pair of RBI’s in the series final game.
3A Softball Championship: Alexander Central rolls to a 2-0 win over Cleveland in game 1
GREENSBORO – The Cougars of Alexander Central managed to find two runs in the fifth inning of a game where hits were terribly hard to come by as Alexander Central walked away with a 2-0 victory over Cleveland in game one of the 3A Softball Championship Series.
Alexis Walker started the two-run fifth with a single for the Cougars. Tara Chatham came on as a courtesy runner for Walker, and Chatham moved up to second as Kelsea Dejarnette reached on a throwing error as she tried to sacrifice bunt. Another error allowed the two runners to move up to second and third, with just one out.
Mattie Starnes reached first as she laid down a bunt to bring in Chatham from third and advance Dejarnette to third, giving the Cougars a 1-0. The Alexa Rash stepped in driving a sacrifice fly into center field to bring home Dejarnette and give the Cougars a 2-0 advantage.
That 2-0 lead was all Chesney Millsaps needed as the senior cruised through the game. She pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only three hits while walking three and striking out a trio as well. Julia Wiggs was the tough-luck losing pitcher, allowing just a single hit in her six innings of work. She struck out three without issuing a walk.
Cleveland dropped to 20-4 on the season as the loss snapped a six-game winning streak. Alexander Central brought their record up to 27-5 as the won their seventh straight. The Cougars can close out the series with a win on Saturday in Game 2 which is slated for an 11:00 a.m. start at UNCG Softball Stadium.