Softball: North Duplin Advances Into Second Round Of NCHSAA Playoffs (PHOTO GALLERY)

Softball: North Duplin Advances Into Second Round Of NCHSAA Playoffs (PHOTO GALLERY)

There is nothing better than to open the playoffs in near-perfect fashion.

Just ask North Duplin.

The Rebels scored 10 runs on 10 hits and did not allow a run during a 10-0, mercy-rule win against Falls Lake Academy in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A playoffs on Monday evening.

North Duplin will face the winner of Camden County vs. East Carteret in the second round on Wednesday.

“I thought we hit the ball really well. I thought we made defensive plays. Falls Lake is a mighty good team, and their pitcher throws well, but we were able to get some runs in,” North Duplin head coach Ricky Edwards said.

Callie Thornton shut down the Firebirds in the top of the first, and the Rebels took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first, which included a two-run home run from Kasey Jones.

“That was a nice start. It sure was,” Edwards said.

After not scoring a run in the second inning, the Rebels increased their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third.

The Firebirds had no answer for the Rebels, and in the bottom of the fourth, Reece Outlaw hit a solo home run to give North Duplin a 5-0 advantage.

By the time the inning was over, the Rebels’ lead had grown to 8-0, and in the bottom of the fifth, Hannah Martin’s two-run double gave North Duplin a 10-0 lead and ended the game.

“Hitting the ball and putting pressure on people is really big,” Edwards said. “We’re down to eight teams in the East, and I want the girls to enjoy playing each game.”

Thornton pitched all five innings, gave up zero runs, and struck out 10. Outlaw went 2-4 with an RBI and home run, Martin finished the game 3-4 with two doubles and four RBIs, while Jones was 2-3 with two RBIs and a home run.