Lady Rams earn first Final Four

Published 9:09 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

AHOSKIE – Mary Kate Morris tossed a two-hitter to lead Ridgecroft School to uncharted territory – the Final Four.

The Lady Rams, who are seeded third in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association 1-A softball playoffs, earned their first-ever Final Four appearance in fast-pitch softball with a 3-1 win over Terra Ceia Christian School.

Senior Tayler Smith had two RBIs and classmate Emily Cooke was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate as Ridgecroft earned a trip to Friday’s semifinal contest.

The Lady Rams opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the first frame.

Cooke led off with a triple to left and then scored on Smith’s first RBI-single. Smith advanced to second on an error on that play. Smith scored on Morris’ RBI-double down the right-field line to give the Rams a 2-0 edge.

The Lady Knights scored their only run in the top of the third, trimming the deficit to 2-1.

Ridgecroft scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth stanza. Cooke doubled to left and went to third on a Sara Hackney sacrifice bunt. Cooked then scored when Smith laced an RBI-single to left to establish the final margin of victory.

Morris pitched all seven innings for the Rams allowing one run on two hits. She struck out seven.

“We had great pitching today,” Rams’ sixth-year skipper Larry Smith said. “We played good defense and had timely hitting.

“We came through when we had to,” he added. “The girls are excited about advancing in the state tournament.”

The Lady Rams improved to 15-3 for the season and play Friday at Campbell University against Tarheel Independent Conference foe Hobgood Academy in the semifinals of the state tournament.

First pitch is set for 12 noon.