Cougars will host North Davidson May 18 at 7 pm
By D.N. PENNELL, Jr.
Alexander Central advanced to the fourth round of the NCHSAA 4A Softball Playoffs on Tuesday night, May 16, with a 10-0 home win over the SW Guilford Cowgirls in Taylorsville.
A seven-RBI offensive effort from Caroline Maltba, coupled with a complete-game, four-hit pitching performance by Kendra Mayes allowed the Cougars to move to the regional semi-finals where they will face another state power North Davidson. ACHS and North Davidson will face off on Thursday, May 18, at 7 pm at Central Park.
The Black Knights edged South Caldwell 3-1 on Tuesday to set up a fourth-round clash for later this week. The winner of the Alexander versus North Davidson contest will advance to the best-of-three regional championship series next week.
“I have told the girls that we are focused on one game at a time…don’t look ahead. We are placing our focus on areas to improve each practice… at the plate, in the field, and base running,” Second year Head Coach Darrell Adkins commented after one of his team’s most complete efforts this season. “The girls are extremely focused on effort and working on being a better player each day.”
Adkins added, “ I am extremely proud of our players’ performance. However, we still have areas to work on.”
Alexander (26-3) plated two runs in the first inning and never looked back en route to the one-sided win over the visitors from High Point. Mayes delivered the Cougars’ first run with an RBI bunt single in the first. Later in the frame, the Cougars plated another run to lead 2-0.
From there, Mayes controlled the game in the circle, while Maltba did her damage at the plate. A senior, Maltba delivered a bases-loaded double in the home half of the fourth to plate three runs. The Lady Cougars’ third hole hitter narrowly missed a grand slam when she lined a pitch off the top of the center field fence to score three runs.
The three-run effort in the fourth put the home team in front 6-0. ACHS closed out the game in the sixth with a four-run uprising. Freshman Ashley Seagle started the scoring with a solo homer to make the score 7-0. Later in the frame, Maltba plated two more runs for a 9-0 advantage before Chesney Millsaps singled home the final run of the game.
Maltba and Brittney Krider tallied three hits apiece in the win, while Julie Gast and Millsaps contributed two hits apiece.
Mayes improved to 17-2 on the season and enjoyed one of her best pitching performances of the season. The senior ace allowed just four hits and held the Cowgirls (21-4) scoreless through six frames.
The Cougars will face North Davidson for the first time since the Knights snapped Alexander’s 95-game winning streak in 2015. One year earlier, ACHS swept North Davidson 2-0 in the regional final. Alexander went on to win the school’s ninth state title that season.