ROCKINGHAM — When the 4A softball playoff brackets were released, most eyes were drawn to the only undefeated teams in the East Region — Richmond Senior and Cape Fear.
Those two schools were set on a collision course and after three rounds of play, the Raiders and the Colts will collide at 7 p.m. tonight in Fayetteville.
Cape Fear has claimed one victory over Richmond this week. It was Wednesday night at the Bojangles in Raeford when Richmond coach Wendy Wallace and her counterpart, Jeff McPhail, met to flip a coin to determine the home team.
In previous years, home-field advantage was based on the team’s league finish and conference priority. Now it is still based on conference finish but includes winning percentage as well. Since both Richmond and Cape Fear were league champions and undefeated on the season, it came down to a coin flip.
Richmond senior pitcher Summer Jacobs make the call and elected to go with heads. Earlier this season at West Brunswick’s Touchstone Energy Beach Diamond Invitational, Jacobs picked heads four times and each time was successful.
On this occasion, it came up tails and Cape Fear grabbed home-field advantage.
The teams haven’t met since the first round of the 2012 playoffs when the Raiders pulled out a 2-1 home victory. Jessica Steen had the game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Chelsea Davis from second.
Even though it has been two years since the schools have squared off, Richmond has faced pitcher Mary Williams. The junior led Jack Britt to an 8-2 win last season before transferring to Cape Fear. Richmond managed four hits — two by Katie Satterfield — in the loss.
“She throws the ball hard and throws a pretty good change-up,” Wallace said. “We have to be disciplined at the plate. The key is scoring early and not letting her get into a groove.”
Wallace admits that will be a tough chore against a pitcher that sports a 0.12 ERA and has 202 strikeouts in 120 innings. During its season-long 24-game winning streak, Cape Fear has only surrendered nine runs and three of those have come in the postseason.
Williams is also a threat to do damage at the plate as well. She is hitting .565 with 40 runs batted in. Haley Cashwell is the Colts’ top hitter, batting .696. Meghan Wilkinson is hitting .500 with a team-high 48 RBIs.
“They’re pretty consistent up and down the lineup,” Wallace said. “They’re solid offensively. They’re well-coached and they’re athletic.”
Cape Fear defeated Holly Springs 14-1, Scotland 8-2 and Pine Forest 3-0 to advance to this point.
Richmond needed some seventh-inning, 0-2 pitch heroics from Hunter Parks against Ashley to stay alive. Parks launched a grand slam home run to lift the Raiders to a 5-1 victory over the Screaming Eagles Tuesday night.
Summer Jacobs earned the victory, scattering eight hits, allowing one run and striking out nine.
Doodle Jacobs has been Richmond’s top hitter in the postseason, batting .700 with three RBIs. Summer Jacobs is sporting a .417 average in the playoffs and has four RBIs. Parks has a team-leading five RBIs.
“The game will probably come down to who executes their bunts and plays good defense,” Wallace said.
The winner of tonight’s game will face either West Johnston (16-6) or Middle Creek (19-2) in next week’s regional final series.
Reach sports editor Shawn Stinson at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.