OAKBORO – Bunker Hill High is headed to a West 2A best-of-3 championship softball series next week, earned by a 2-1 fourth-round victory on Thursday night on the road over West Stanly.
The 13th-seeded Bears (16-6) became the first team to score on the top-seeded Colts (25-2) in more than 33 innings in the fourth inning and added the eventual game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning.
Bunker Hill, coached by Randy Joines, will face No. 3 Fred T. Foard (20-3) or No. 2 Franklin (21-0) in the West title series. Unless the teams agree to a different home-and-away setup, Game 1 must be played by Tuesday and would be at Foard or Franklin. Game 2 would be at Bunker Hill and a third game, if needed, would be at Foard or Franklin.
Foard travels to Franklin on Friday for a 6 p.m. game.
The Bears led West Stanly 2-0 after Kailey Travis’ RBI double in the top of the seventh inning, then made the defensive plays to advance.
Kailey Furr of West Stanly led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double. With one out, Blair Helms’ single got the Colts within 2-1. After a strikeout, Bailey Huneycutt’s pop up to second base was caught and the Bears had posted the eighth state softball playoff victory in school history.
Bunker Hill gained an early 1-0 lead in the fourth inning via Makalya Turner’s run-scoring sacrifice fly, ending a stretch of 33 1/3 innings that West Stanly had not been scored on.
The Bears are deeper in the postseason bracket than ever before. Their previous best was to the third round in 1984 in 2A playing slo-pitch.
Bunker Hill beat No. 20 Hibriten 5-0, No. 4 Maiden 11-2 on the road and No. 12 North Lincoln 6-3 on the road to earn the trip to West Stanly.
The West 2A champion will play the East 2A champion in a best-of-3 series on June 1-2.
Teams still alive in the East through Wednesday were No. 5 Whiteville (23-3) at No. 1 South Granville (22-0) and No. 6 Bartlett Yancey (23-1) at No. 2 North Johnston (26-1). Those match-ups are listed on the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) website as 7 p.m. games on Friday.