FUQUAY-VARINA — Apex started the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference softball season by facing the two teams that it usually battles for the league title.
After a 9-5 win at Fuquay-Varina on Friday, the Cougars have beaten both.
Apex (5-0, 2-0) had already beaten Middle Creek 2-1 leading into the Friday game.
Fuquay-Varina (3-2, 1-1) opened the scoring with a run in the first, before Apex scored the next five runs for a 5-1 lead. The Bengals battled back with a four-run fifth to tie it at 5-5, but the Cougars erupted for four runs in the sixth to put the contest away.
Highlight reel: Lindsay Hodge pitched and hit Apex to victory, recording eight strikeouts while blasting a clutch two-run double in the pivotal sixth inning. The Cougars collected five hits in all in the frame, with Alexis Overdiep also ripping a double.
Putting up numbers: Alexis Bowman tacked on two hits and an RBI, and Mackenzie Brown ripped three hits with a walk, collected three RBIs and scored three runs for Apex.
Kelsey Ward lashed a pair of singles and knocked in two runs for Fuquay-Varina. She also took one for the team in getting on base a third time on a hit-by-pitch.
What worked: Hodge’s change-up kept the Bengals off-balance and off the scoreboard in all but the first and fifth innings. She admitted Fuquay-Varina had some success off her, but Hodge came up with big pitches in crucial spots.
“I knew Fuquay was going to hit the ball,”Hodge said. “So I worked all week in practice on hitting my spots.”
Her mother, Apex coach Bonnie Hodge, was pleased with the pitcher’s grit.
“She did a dadgum good job,” coach Hodge said.
Needs improvement: Both teams need to avoid allowing an opponent the “big inning.”
Apex pulled away with the four-run sixth, while Fuquay-Varina got back into the contest with four runs in the fifth.
Going forward: The way they fought back to tie the contest, the Bengals are confident looking ahead to the next Apex showdown on April 17.
“They are a very good team with a very good defense, but we get to see them again,” Fuquay-Varina coach Deb Clarke said.