HPCA rallies past Gaston Christian, 8-5
The High Point Christian Academy Cougars defeated the Gaston Christian Eagles in the second round of the 3A NCISAA softball playoffs 8-5 on May 14 after rallying from an early 4-0 deficit.
After putting runners on first and second down 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Kirsten Hart hit a ground ball that was misplayed by Eagles second baseman Alanah Freeman. Maddie Faulkner scored on the play to tie the game up.
Sydney Harris then hit a ground ball to third and reached first on a close call that allowed Ashlyn Kennedy to score and give the Cougars their first lead of the game.
Sloane McPeak then hit a double that drove in two more runs to put the Cougars up 7-4.
Lindsay Cecil hit a ground ball to third that bounced off the third baseman. As shortstop Sarah Adams went to get the ball, she made contact with McPeak. No call came on the play.
Gaston Christian’s Head Coach Marvin Foy went to dispute the no-call with the umpire and on his way back to the dugout, he stopped and began to argue with HPCA coach Jeremy Cecil. Foy and Cecil had to be separated by coaches and umpires as the two were arguing.
On the next play, an HPCA batter grounded a ball to third and on the throw to first, Gaston Christian first baseman Sam McCimore tagged the runner out hard and near the throat. McCimore was immediately ejected and a Gaston Christian assistant coach ran over and began arguing with a High Point Christian first base coach.
In the seventh, before the first pitch could be thrown, a fan was called out by the umpire and told to leave that side of the field. Other fans were also arguing.
Coach Cecil contributed the scenario to two teams in playoff mode.
“It was just a hard fought game for both of us,” said Cecil. “Emotions were running high.”
The Eagles managed to get one across in the seventh, but the Cougars were able to hold on for the win.
We should have told the rest of the story
After the game, High Point Christian’s coach and Gaston’s coach shook hands. They made their way to midfield, arm-in-arm. Their players circled them. The coaches talked to the players about how their emotions flared. The girls put their arms around each other too and they all prayed.
HPCA went on to capture its first-ever state softball championship.