Wildcats cruise into third round

Stephanie King

The Eastern Randolph Wildcats hosted the Edenton Holmes Aces on Saturday in the second round of the 2A state softball playoffs. Eastern Randolph won their first-round game 9-2 over Currituck County.

Eastern Randolph allowed the Aces to load the bases early in the first inning with just one out on the board. A single from Alanna Parks scored the first two runs of the game. The Aces loaded the bases once again and a triple from Maggie Bunch brought in all three runners. Eastern Randolph ended the inning as they forced the third out.

In the bottom of the first, the Wildcats put Aniyah King and Haley Kearns on base as Lindsay Castlebury stepped to the plate. Castlebury hit one over the fence to bring in three runs for the Wildcats. After the first out of the inning, the Wildcats put two more runners on base before the Aces picked up out number two. Brooklyn Rush drew a walk to load the bases moments later. Nicole Cox singled to tie the game at 5 all as Tori Maness and Shyanne Gaye crossed home plate. With the bases loaded, Rush and Cox would score off a single from Kearns to put the Wildcats ahead 7-5. King was brought in off a single from Castlebury before Kaylee Carter struck out for out three. After one inning, the Wildcats led 8-5.

The Aces loaded the bases in the top of the second with one out on the board, but runners were left stranded as the Wildcats turned a double play to end the inning. The Wildcats put eight more runs on the board in the bottom second for a 16-5 lead. Eastern Randolph loaded the bases three times and scored five runs before the Aces picked up out number one. In between outs one and two, the Wildcats brought in another run as Kearns scored off a hit from Carter. After out two, Eastern Randolph loaded the bases before scoring the last two runs of the inning. After two innings, the Wildcats led 16-5.

Eastern Randolph made quick work of the Aces in the top of the third as they gave up just one hit and forced three outs with in the first four batters. In the bottom of the inning, the Wildcats quickly loaded the bases as King and Kearns scored to put ER up 18-5. A single from Gay would score Kelsey Craven and Carter as the Wildcats led 20-5. ER loaded the bases for a second time and a walk from Olivia Owens brought in Maness for the score. The Aces forced three straight outs to end the inning. With three complete, Eastern Randolph was in control 21-5.

Holmes sent four batters to the plate in the top of the fourth, but only one would get on base as the Wildcats forced three quick outs. Craven opened the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run over the left field fence to put the Wildcats ahead 22-5. The Aces forced back to back outs and then picked up out three after a single from Gay.

The Aces put two runners on base to start the top of the fifth, but the Wildcats picked up three straight outs to end the game. Eastern Randolph cruised to a 22-5 win and will advance to the third round of the state playoffs. They will host Washington on Tuesday at 7PM.

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