CREEDMOOR — This time, North Johnston couldn’t complete the comeback.
Having advanced to the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A softball playoffs with a come-from-behind, walk-off win over Bunn on Tuesday night, the Lady Panthers endured one South Granville surge too many as North Johnston had its season ended with an 11-7 loss in the fourth round Friday
North Johnston, the Eastern Plains Conference champion and the No. 4 overall seed in the East region, concluded with a 20-6 record. South Granville, champion of the Northern Carolina Conference and two-time defending state 2-A champion, remained unbeaten through 24 games.
South Granville will take on No. 8 seed Eastern Randolph in the best-of-3 East regional final, which begins next week. Eastern Randolph moved forward with a 12-4 win over No. 6 Siler City Jordan-Matthews in the other East semifinal.
North Johnston fell behind 3-0 in the third inning and 7-3 in the fourth before responding each time. In the third and trailing 3-1, junior Jada Santiago connected on a two-out, two-run homer to tie the game.
The scenario was similar to Tuesday’s third-round win over Bunn, where Santiago made contact with a three-run shot to tie matters at 5 in the bottom of the sixth.
However, South Granville promptly responded with four runs in the top of the fourth inning. North Johnston attempted to rally for the second time, pulling within a run at 7-6. But the Lady Vikings pushed across three more runs in the sixth, and North Johnston could not mount another sizable response.
North Johnston, which has reached at least the third round in each of the last three years, saw careers come to a close for Hannah Lester, Kelly White and Taylor Narron.