Lady Raiders win softball state title

Published 1:51 pm Saturday, May 20, 2023

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Pungo Christian Academy claimed its first NCISAA 1A softball state championship with a two game sweep of top-seeded Halifax Academy Friday and Saturday at North Carolina Wesleyan University in Rocky Mount.

The second-seeded Lady Raiders (16-2) avenged a season-opening 11-1 loss to the Vikings with a 3-0 victory Friday, then clinched the title with a 5-4 win Saturday afternoon.

Senior Reagan Stoop was on the mound for both victories and struck out the final two Halifax hitters with runners at first and second to wrap up the title.

PCA scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday to snap a scoreless tie. Senior Abbey Cutler led off with a bunt single, stole second, the scored on Emma Hanna’s double. Melanie Rutledge scored her with a sacrifice fly, then EllaKate Hanna triple and scored on Reese Blackmon’s single to cap the scoring.

Saturday’s match up was back and forth. Both team scored a pair of runs in the first, then Halifax scored in the fourth for a 3-2 lead, but PCA answered with a pair of runs in the bottom half, then added Rutledge’s lead-off home run in fifth for a 5-3 advantage. The Vikings scored in the seventh before Stoop ended the series with back to back strikeouts.  She fanned 10 in each game to clinch the school’s first softball state championship in five trips to the title series.

“I’m really proud of our four seniors, Abbey Cutler, Reagan Stoop, Kelly and Ashley Williford,” Raiders athletic director Logan Van Staalduinen said. “They were also part of our volleyball state title in the fall and to win two championships in their senior year is a great accomplishment.”