CHAPEL HILL — When you draw the defending Class 2A state championship team in your district, it’s never an easy win.In two consecutive meetings, the Community Viqueens have pushed the …
CHAPEL HILL — When you draw the defending Class 2A state championship team in your district, it’s never an easy win.
In two consecutive meetings, the Community Viqueens have pushed the defending champion Lady Rockets to the brink, but just couldn’t get the finish needed to knock off Forrest.
On Thursday night, the Lady Rockets claimed the District 7-AA title over the Viqueens, rallying for a 10-9 walk-off victory over the Purple and Gold.
“They put in the work and do what they’re supposed to do. We just have to finish. But I’m proud of them. I think they’re over the intimidation thing with Forrest. We have a lot of talent and a lot of kids that work really hard,” Viqueen coach Cam Farrell said.
Community never led in Thursday’s 7-AA finals until the Viqueens erased a three-run deficit in the top of the seventh inning and took a 9-8 lead over the Lady Rockets.
The Viqueens loaded the bases in the top of the seventh on singles by Carlie Blanton and Haley Mitchell and a walk by Zoey Dixon—all with one out.
Chloe West singled in the first run of the inning, but it was a wild Pitch by Ella Chilton that allowed Mitchell to score the tying run.
West singled in the first run of the inning for Community, pulling the Viqueens within two.
Blanton then scored on a passed ball, but it was some savvy base-running accounted for the tying run to cross the plate.
Abi Murrill connected on a ground ball single to right, scoring Dixon from third, but an errant throw from first to third allowed Haley Mitchell to score from third, tying the game at eight.
The go-ahead run came on a fielder’s choice RBI by Abi Brown, scoring West, but the Lady Rockets were able to get the third out via tag after Community took the slim, 9-8 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Viqueen pitcher Hailey Farrar forced a fly out, but the Lady Rockets proved advantageous at the plate and loaded the bases after a pair of walks and a single.
Farrar made things interesting and recorded the second out by striking out Forrest’s Christa Warren, setting the Viqueens up one out from forcing a tiebreaker for the 7-AA title.
But it was Abby Ferguson who came through with the game on the line for Lady Rockets and smacked a two-RBI single to right for the walk-off victory.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Forrest. When they (Community) can come out here and make it game and not have a run rule, I think our girls realize what their worth is and what they can bring to the table. I think that will give us some gas moving forward,” Farrell said.
Forrest looked to put the game out of reach early, driving in two runs in the bottom of the first and a single run in the second and third innings, but the Viqueens just wouldn’t go away.
In three different innings, Community cut the Lady Rocket lead to one run before eventually forcing the late-game drama in the top of the seventh with a four-run inning.
Hits were a-plenty for the Purple and Gold.
Mitchell went 3-for-4 with the team’s only extra base hit of the night, which came in the top of the fifth inning.
Farrar and Zoey Dixon split time in the pitcher’s circle, with Farrar going the first Inning before Dixon worked a single inning in relief.
Farrar then relieved Dixon and pitched the final five innings for Community.
While Thursday went down as another heartbreaking loss for the Viqueens at the hands of the Lady Rockets, the path to a rematch in the Region 4-AA championship is still intact.
Community will travel to the District 8-AA champion on Monday for the region semifinal, while the Lady Rockets will host the 8-AA runner-up.
Should both teams win on Monday, the rematch will be set for Wednesday in Chapel Hill.
“The plan is to get back over here for the region championship and get to work. Just move on and find a way to make it work,” Farrell said.
Community 002 111 4 — 9 11 2
Forrest 211 121 2 — 10 13 6
Community: Abi Murrill 1-for-5, Abi Brown 2-for-5, Taylar Wessner 1-for-4, Carlie Blanton 1-for-4, Haley Mitchell 3-for-4, Hailey Farrar 1-for-4, Zoey Dixon 1-for-2, Chloe West 1-for-4.
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