PEMBROKE — After Richmond Senior fell Tuesday night, the Southeastern Conference still had two schools battling in the 4A state softball playoffs.
Purnell Swett, the SEC’s regular season and tournament champions, and West Johnston were scoreless in the top of the third Tuesday when weather forced their game to be suspended to Wednesday afternoon. Scotland and Holly Springs were unable to take the field for their second round contest and moved the game to Wednesday as well.
The Rams managed just one hit off Wildcat starting pitcher Christina Gower in a 2-0 loss. Gower extended her scoreless innings streak to 28 and struck out 10 Purnell Swett batters in the victory. West Johnston advances to face Ashley in the third round today. The Eagles knocked off South View 8-2.
West Johnson (19-5) took advantage of two Purnell Swett errors in the fourth inning to plate the game’s only runs.
“We’re just one of the many teams who are going to have their hearts broken before the state championship,” Purnell Swett coach James Graves told The Robesonian. “I wished we could’ve gone a little longer, but it’s the playoffs and everybody wants to win.”
The Rams finish their season with a 20-6 record.
Like their conference counterparts, Scotland only recorded one hit in its 5-2 loss to Holly Springs. The Fighting Scots (12-10) trimmed a four-run deficit in half in the fourth inning, but were unable to pull any closer the rest of the way.
Holly Springs pitcher Erica Nunn struck out nine and allowed one earned run in seven innings. It was the first earned run Nunn had surrendered since a 2-1 victory over Fuquay-Varina on April 27.
Scotland coach Patrick Williams thought his team was close to breaking through against Nunn.
“We were getting some bad bounces, but we were also getting tons of cuts and foul balls, which elevated their pitcher’s count,” Williams told the Laurinburg Exchange. “We weren’t putting anything on the board, but we were making a ton of contact.”
Holly Springs will take on Fuquay-Varina for the third time this season today. The Bengals eliminated Leesville Road 9-1.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com