MAIDEN – Bunker Hill High’s softball team is going to the third round of the state playoffs for the first time since Reagan beat Mondale.
Producing 14 hits while making no errors, pulling two double plays and outlasting a rain delay of nearly an hour, the Bears downed Maiden 11-2 on Friday night on the road to win a second-round 2A state playoff game.
That win, a seventh straight, pushes West No. 13 seed Bunker Hill (13-6) into a third-round game at West No. 12 seed North Lincoln (18-4) next. The game must be played by Tuesday.
North Lincoln scored seven runs in its final at-bat at home on Friday night to nip No. 28 Canton Pisgah 15-14.
Fourth-seeded Maiden finished 20-4 and failed to get out of the second round for the third straight season and seventh time in seven tries while Canton Pisgah finished 9-11.
The Bears had eight players with at least one hit to down the Blue Devils, who shared the South Fork 2A title with North Lincoln, and Bunker Hill’s hitting was clutch when it needed to be (five two-out hits).
Makayla Turner led Bunker Hill, with three hits and three RBIs. She had a key two-run single in a five-run third inning by the Bears that broke the game open.
Sophomore Payton Bryant was Bunker Hill’s winning pitcher.
The Bears went up 2-0 early when Addie Wray singled and scored on an infield out and Payton Gibbs singled and scored on a single by Sydnie Ammons.
Maiden got within 2-1 on a single by Lashayla Thompson and run-scoring single by Addyson Ikard before the Bears broke it open.
Bunker Hill’s second trip to the third round since 1984 – the year Ronald Reagan topped Walter Mondale to become U.S. President – comes via a team with three seniors (Ammons, Goble, Turner) on a 14-player roster.
Head coach Randy Joines’ senior class has gone 18-5, 14-9, 14-6 and now 13-6 (59-26) to gain the Bears’ 15th postseason bid.
Bunker Hill’s only other third-round game came in 1984 – after it beat Alleghany 3-2 and Bessemer City 2-1 after advancing as the No. 2 team of the old Southern District 7 2A. Franklin then beat the Bears 18-10 to eliminate them.