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Rams season ends in Final Four

GREENVILLE – At the NC Independent Schools state softball championship series played here at The Oakwood School, Ridgecroft School and Halifax Academy played a tight game, but Halifax pulled out the 11-4 victory in the first game on Friday.

Ridgecroft got on the board first when Grace Vaughan’s base hit scored Ruthie Daniels for a 1-0 Rams lead. A Reagan King triple and Shelby Hoggard groundout provided the other RBI’s for Ridgecroft in scoring their first three runs.

The game was tied at 3-3 with Halifax batting in the bottom of the fifth when Drew Rose singled off of Mandy Spence, driving in the go-ahead run, and the Vikings never looked back from there, scoring four runs in the inning and four more in the sixth.

Ridgecroft School softball coach Jon Northcott (blue T-shirt) talks to his team during a time-out. The Lady Rams made it to the NCISAA softball Final-Four in Greenville May 19, but lost to Halifax Academy and The Oakwood School. | Staff photo by Gene Motley

The Rams’ final run came in the top of the seventh when King singled and later scored on a Kathryn Outlaw base-hit.

Vaughan, Outlaw,  King, and Hoggard each drove in a run to lead Ridgecroft. Defensively, the Rams didn’t commit a single error in the field as Hoggard had the most chances with seven.

Halifax Academy had a dozen hits in the game. Ashton Garner, Candice Smith, Drew Rose, and Sydney Smith each collected multiple hits. Garner led the Lady Vikings with three hits in three at bats.

The loss sent the Rams into the loser’s bracket where they faced a must-win situation against Oakwood, with the Eagles playing on their home field.

Mandy Spence started for Ridgecroft and gave up her first run on a passed ball in the bottom of the first inning, leaving the Rams trailing 1-0.

More trouble followed as Ridgecroft surrendered six more runs in the bottom of the second inning, leaving the Rams in an early 7-0 hole.

The girls in blue broke through in the top of the third when Spence and King walked and later scored on Daniels’ base-hit to right field. The Eagles were held off the board in their half of the inning, so after three complete, the Rams trailed 7-2.

Oakwood got its final three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, leaving the Rams eight runs down at 10-2.

In the fifth, Ridgecroft plated two more runs when King and Lane smacked back-to-back base hits and scored on a double by Outlaw.

That completed the scoring – and the season – for Ridgecroft as they fell 10-4.

King, Lane, Outlaw, and Daniels had the only hits for the Rams. Spence was tagged with the loss after giving up ten runs on nine hits.

“It was a great season that we wish could’ve had a better ending,” said Coach Jon Northcott. “I don’t think many people thought we would make it to the Final Four.”