Falcons ‘skip’ to win

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2006

WINDSOR – They went skipping off the field.

In what has become a tradition for Jackie Copeland’s Bertie High School softball squad, the Lady Falcons skipped off their field following victory Thursday.

The victory wasn’t one that came easy, however.

The Lady Falcons trailed 4-1 heading into the sixth inning against Northeastern High School, a team that had beaten them 3-1 earlier this season.

Thanks to several factors, the Lady Falcons pulled out a 5-4 win with two outs in the home half of the seventh stanza.

&uot;What changed the game for us was two-fold,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;First, Brittany Hoggard made a great catch in the top of the sixth that gave us a spark and secondly, our attitude in the dugout improved.

&uot;We’ve been in a few situations this year where we’ve waited until the sixth inning to starting hitting and we did that again, but because of the morale in the dugout, we were able to get the win,&uot; she added.

Trailing 4-1, Christie Brown led off the sixth with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Abby Parker then reached on a dropped third strike to put runners on first and second.

Hoggard delivered a shot to center field that scored Brown and sent Parker to third. Hoggard advanced to second on the throw home.

A wild pitch allowed Parker to score and sent Hoggard to third. On the next play, Carla Cooper dropped a bunt which was fielded, but the throw to third sailed into left field allowing Hoggard to score the game-tying run.

Megan Cowan, who got stronger as the game went along, set the Eagles down in order in the seventh stanza, just as she had in the sixth.

Holly Cowand led off the bottom of the seventh stanza with a single to center followed by a bunt single by Kelly Cummings. Cowand and Cummings had a double steal to put runners on second and third with two outs.

Copeland decided to gamble on a wild pitch and sent Cowand from third and she scored just ahead of the tag, giving the Falcons their fifth Northeastern Coastal Conference victory in seven starts.

Copeland said she hadn’t made the decision to send Cowan ahead of time.

&uot;It was a gut call when it happened,&uot; she said.

The gut call paid off as the Falcons avenged one of only three losses on the entire season.

Other things that went well for the Falcons included their use of the bats and defense.

&uot;Another key factor for us today was Carla and Kelly getting their bunts down,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;We did a good job all day getting our bunts down.&uot;

Copeland said she was pleased with the pitching performance from Cowan, who had been sick for most of the week and didn’t practice on Wednesday because of the illness.

Courtney Dunlow and Allyson Hoggard led the team defensively, with both players making key plays on the corners.

&uot;We ran the bases well, also,&uot; Copeland said. &uot;We’ve worked on that recently and it paid off today.&uot;

Northeastern took an early lead, scoring three in the first inning, but Bertie got one of them back in the same frame.

Cowan singled, stole second and went to third on a passed ball. She scored on a Brown RBI-groundout.

The Falcons’ next outing will be at the D.H. Conley Easter Tournament.