RMA softball finishes season as state runner-up
BY SAMUEL EVERS
Monday, May 21, 2018
A year of firsts for the Rocky Mount Academy softball team added a few more accolades on the final day of the NCISAA 2-A season.
After their game got rained out in the bottom of the first inning on Saturday, the Eagles made up the rest of it on Monday morning, beating Fayetteville Christian Academy, 3-2, to guarantee a second place finish in the state.
Right after that, they turned around at noon and played Freedom Christian Academy, which had yet to lose in the final four double elimination tournament.
The Patriots finished off RMA, 11-1, to win the state title. With the Eagles needing two straight wins to be champions, they figured it would be a tall task, and the resounding feeling was of pride despite the loss.
A year ago, they reached the final four and lost both games. This year, they finished 2-2 for the most successful season in program history that also included a first-ever conference title.
“We were pretty fatigued for the second game,” coach Chuck Braswell said. “All the girls were disappointed we didn’t win it all, but they were also really proud of themselves. I wouldn’t trade this group for the world.”
Casey Jones, who started the game on Saturday before it was postponed, again was on the circle when play resumed Monday morning, and she ended up pitching a complete game, allowing six hits over the course of the contest for the victory. Initially, Braswell said, the plan was to go by committee in terms of pitchers, but Jones threw so well he never had to make a move.
“With a little bit of rest she came back throwing heat,” he said. “I had planned to use maybe two or three pitchers throughout the game because Fayetteville was a wonderful hitting team. As the game went on she just made pitch after pitch.”
Against Freedom Christian, which claimed the title for the second time in three years, the Eagles were in striking distance down by three runs in the fourth inning, but the well-rested Patriots pulled away in the latter innings.
“I would say our pitching ran out of gas,” Braswell said. “After that, there wasn’t much we could do. We knew we had our work cut out for us, but we never hung our heads (this tournament), we never quit. We just kept going.”