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May 11—Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute will play in the South Atlantic District tournament against Pasco-Hernando State after sweeping its best-of-three series against Fayetteville Tech on Saturday. The Cobras won Game 1 2-1 and trounced the Trojans 13-4 in five innings in Game 2.

After winning a defensive battle in Game 1, the Cobras (26-14) were firing on all cylinders in Game 2 as Jada Wilson hit two home runs and collected four runs batted in. Ceslie James hit a three-run homer, and Abby Reeves went 3-for-4 to propel Caldwell into Friday’s regional final in Burlington. First pitch is set for noon at Springwood Park.

After the bitter end to the 2020 season as the pandemic began to take hold, the returners wanted to capitalize on the momentum last year’s team had before everything was upended.

“We just wanted to pick up where we left off,” James said. “We wanted to start with the energy we had last year before we got cut off. The new members of the team, they’ve really helped us with our confidence.”

That confidence was apparent early as the Cobras scored eight runs in the first inning. Cierra Martin scored Reeves on a base hit to left, and Wilson hit the first of her two home runs, this one a two-run shot that scored Martin. Brittany Reynolds followed with an RBI triple to center that got Brianna Lewis across the plate, and James’ three-run blast plated Ashlyn Castle and Taylor Moody.

Just like that, the damage was done — but Caldwell wasn’t finished.

Reynolds scored on an error in the second, and Wilson hit another two-run home run that scored Juliana Aponte, who also finished the game with two RBIs. Aponte’s fourth-inning single scored Reeves and James.

Wilson pitched all seven innings of Game 1, giving up one run on six hits while fanning three. She threw three innings of Game 2, giving up one hit and striking out one.

Caldwell coach Scott Triplett said the team is checking off its preseason goals one by one.

“We knew we had some talent to compete this year,” he said. “We talked about this in August, on Day One — to win our division, to make the playoffs and to possibly have the chance to go to the national championship. We won our division; we accomplished our first goal. Second goal was to make the playoffs; we did that. The third goal was to make the national championship tournament, and we have that opportunity this weekend. Hopefully we’ll play well Friday and Saturday.”

Pasco-Hernando State is in New Port Richey, Fla. The Bobcats are 14-20 this season and have lost three of their last four games. This weekend’s tournament is double elimination. According to the Region 10 website, the highest finishing team from Region 10 will be named the Region 10 champion. The tournament winner will be the South Atlantic A champion, while the tournament runner-up will be named the South Atlantic B champion. Both South Atlantic winners will receive automatic bids to the national tournament at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Ala. on May 25-29.

Middle Schools Girls Soccer

William Lenoir hosted Granite Falls last week and won 8-0. Bella Hawkins led the Wildcats with a hat trick. Avery Harris scored two goals and had three assists. Marie Claire Waechter scored two goals, and Raegan Watts added another. Lilly Jaroszewski had two assists and Sarah Spann had one assist. Sydney Watkins came out of the goal to add the final assist. Watkins and Bella Molles combined for the shutout and defenders Briana Giron, Lily Wright and Olivia Baker thwarted Granite’s offensive efforts.

At the season’s midpoint, WLMS is 5-0.

Erin Johnston contributed to this article.

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