Tigers knock off unbeaten Franklin

For the second time in over two weeks, Fred T. Foard knocked off an undefeated team.

The Lady Tigers (22-4), who defeated unbeaten Alexander Central to win the NWC tournament crown a few weeks ago, toppled previously unbeaten Franklin (23-1) in clutch fashion.

Foard got three of its seven hits in the game with two outs in the top of the 11th inning to advance to the 3A state semis over Franklin, 3-0, on the road Tuesday.

“Obviously, they were undefeated,” said Foard coach Jennifer Cook. “As far as I’m concerned, we were both 2-0 going into the third round of the playoffs. They didn’t care what we had done up to that point and we didn’t care what they had done.”

After Taylor Brown and Kendall Settlemyre were retired to start the 11th inning, Foard rallied with two outs.

Mackenzie Dziendziel reached base on an error and Ashley Oliver walked to put runners on first and second.

Lexi Shubert, who had been dominate on the mound for the Lady Tigers, delivered a single to right field to break a scoreless tie and give Foard a 1-0 lead.

“We go into games against unbeaten teams by mentally preparing ourselves,” Shubert said. “We know they are going to be good. We have to do our best because that’s what it is going to take to win.”

Emily Crouse singled on the next at-bat to score Oliver.

The third and final blow to Franklin came from the bat of Savannah Burns, who singled to score Taylor Bollinger — Shubert’s courtesy runner.

“We were pretty successful after we scored first. Unfortunately, it took us 11 innings,” Cook said. “It was a total team effort. Lexi did what she did in the circle. We had kids make huge defensive plays. We were very resilient and didn’t get down when we could have. That persistence paid off again for us. I’m super proud of them.”

Shubert continued her dominance from the mound, as strong pitching and defense allowed the Tigers to retire three of the final four batters in the game.

Shubert finished with 20 strikeouts, allowed five hits and walked three batters. She also had one hit and one RBI from the plate.

Burns added two hits and an RBI. Crouse had one hit and one RBI.

Foard will face Crest (21-3) at home on Friday for a chance to go to the 3A state championship game in Raleigh.

“We’re taking these games one at a time,” Cook said. “We are really focusing more on what we need to do instead of them. We know a little bit about these teams, but at this point, it all goes out the window. You have two good, quality teams that neither one of them want to be done. We are just going to stay on this ride as long as we can. These girls set a goal to get to Raleigh. We are one win away from being there.”