The Raleigh Lady Lions softball team continued their remarkable postseason winning streak on Monday with a 5-2 victory over Choctaw Central to punch their ticket to the 3A state championship series.
“The means so much, especially for our five seniors,” exclaimed Coach Adam Case. “They’ve been working hard for six years and have never sniffed this level of the playoffs. It’s just been surreal.”
The Lady Lions never trailed in the contest, snatching the lead in the bottom of the first with a single to center field by Cara McCarty allowing Natalie Lillie to reach home plate. Though the Warriors tied the game with a run in the second, Hannah Buffington hit a triple in the following inning to bring in two more runs for the home team. Abby Lillie scored in the third on a single by Sandrea Hord, and Holly Craft scored their fifth run on a Hayley Revette single in the bottom of the fourth.
An attempted rally in the sixth inning added one run to the board for the Warriors, but the Lady Lions kept their composure and secured the 5-2 victory.
Craft was the winning pitcher for Raleigh, allowing just two runs on five hits and throwing seven strikeouts on the evening. Buffington led the charge offensively with two hits in three at-bats and two RBIs.
“It sounds a little cliche,” said Coach Case, “but we’ve been channeling Ric Flair all year. To be the man you’ve got to beat the man. We haven’t been beaten yet [in the playoffs], and we’re going to continue working hard and give it everything we’ve got.”
The Lady Lions will face off with the Houston Lady Hilltoppers (23-6) beginning on Thursday at 4pm in a best-of-three series for the 2018 MHSAA 3A Softball State Championship.
(Article written by Brad Crowe)