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Laney's road ends

Laney pitcher Shelby Cook throws against East Wake during the first round of the 4A state playoffs in Wilmington on Friday. Cook pitched well until a four-run sixth inning sent the Buccaneers out of the postseason in a 4-0 loss. (Photo by Matt Born)

For five innings, Laney got a strong pitching performance from sophomore Shelby Cook. However, the bottom fell out in the sixth as the East Wake Warriors pushed four runs across to defeat the Buccaneers 4-0 in the first round of the state 4A softball playoffs.

The loss ends Laney’s (12-9) season, while East Wake moves on to play top seed Garner in the second round.

“We had great energy tonight, but unfortunately we just didn’t get the ball in play,” Laney coach Jim Fisk said. “We had that one bad inning, but overall we didn’t do a bad job. Give them credit; they got it done. When you make mistakes this late it’s going to cost you.”

Hits were at a premium, as the game remained scoreless through five innings while pitchers Cook and East Wake’s Lauren Miller dueled. Cook pitched a complete game and Miller gave up just four hits  and struck out 11 batters.

“She threw the ball well,” Fisk said of Miller. “She had us off balance a little bit, but we needed to get the bat off of our shoulders and battle a few more times.”

The Warriors broke through when Ashlee Miller doubled down the left-field line with the bases loaded to score two runs. Annabeth Watkins singled in another run, before a Laney error made it 4-0.

In all, the Warriors scored their four runs on five hits and two Laney errors.

While the loss may be a bitter pill for the Lady Bucs, there is a silver lining. They are a very young team with no seniors.

“We talk about being young and everything this year, but the bottom line is tonight they should’ve been seniors, juniors and sophomores up there,” Fisk said. “Overall, it wasn’t a bad season, but it definitely wasn’t our typical season.”