Alexander Central scored three runs in the sixth and then had to hang on to edge Fayetteville Cape Fear 4-3 on Friday night in the first game of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association state 4-A softball championship series at Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
The victorious Cougars ran their record to 34-0 while Cape Fear suffered only its second loss against 26 victories.
The two teams were scoreless through three, with Cape Fear coming up with a big double palsy to stifle one Cougar threat, and the Colts scored a run in the fifth to tie the game at 1-1.
But Alexander Central scored a couple of unearned runs in the three-run sixth and then Cape Fear had a dramatic two-out rally in the seventh. The Colts put together three hits and a hit batsman, but wound up leaving the tying and winning runs on base.
Bailey Rhoney was the winning pitcher, improving her record to 17-0, while Mary Williams took the loss.
Bailey Sherrill had two hits for Alexander Central while Natalie Jones had two doubles in three trips for the Colts.
Game two in the best of three series is set for Saturday at 11 am, with a third game if necessary Saturday afternoon. The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau serve as host city sponsors for the championship.