Just like their baseball counterparts, the Tri-Nine Conference did well in the first round of the NCHSAA softball playoffs, winning three of their five first-round game.
A few runs here or there could’ve easily made the conference 5-0 or 4-1.
Apex 10, Durham Hillside 0
The Tri-Nine champs wasted no time in advancing to the second round. The Cougars (16-3) defeated Hillside in five quick innings.
Pitcher Natalie Klemann not only tosssed a two-hitter, she led her team with four RBI.
Apex will host a familiar foe in the second round, Fuquay-Varina.
Holly Springs 3, Lumberton 2
The Golden Hawks scored three runs in the first two innings, and that was enough to hold off Lumberton on Tuesday.
Pitcher Erica Nunn picked up the win and ripped a RBI double. The Pirates scored one in the top of the seventh before Nunn shut the door.
Holly Springs (17-3) has a long road trip in the second round – at Person County.
Millbrook 5, Middle Creek 2
The Mustangs softball team hosted Millbrook on Thursday as soggy field conditions caused the game to be pushed back two days.
When the teams finally met, it was Millbrook that advanced to the next round by a 5-2 score.
Middle Creek (16-10) needed to win an extra conference game against Fuquay-Varina to break the tie for the conference’s 3-seed.
Fuquay-Varina 2, Leesville Road 0
In one of the bigger upsets in the East region’s first round, Fuquay shut down the second-best team from the Cap-7.
Freshman pitcher Alissa Dean posted a two-hitter as the Bengals (14-11), a participant in last year’s NCHSAA softball Final Four, will now play Apex for the third time this season in the second round.
Apex swept both prior season meetings.
Wake Forest-Rolesville 2, Athens Drive 1
Athens Drive nearly pulled off a first-round shocker.
The Jaguars (10-13) lost in extra innings to local powerhouse Wake Forest-Rolesville. Athens out-hit the Cougars eight to five.
However, WF-R got the most meaningful hit in bottom of the eighth to seal the win.