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Bertie takes first place

CURRITUCK – Whew!

That was the general reaction of a crowd of nearly 100 gathered Monday night when Bertie High School scored a 2-1 victory over Currituck High School.

The Lady Falcons win over Currituck was the first in Head Coach Jackie Copeland’s tenure at Bertie and gave the Lady Falcons solo first place in the Northeastern Coastal Conference.

“Wow, that’s a big one,” Copeland said afterwards. “I’ve said all season that we have to take them one at a time and a win is a win, but I’ll admit that one was big.

“We have to stay focused because we set a goal this season and it is attainable,” she added. “Our goal was not to beat Currituck, it was to win the Northeastern Coastal Conference. To do that, we have to keep taking it one game at a time.”

Copeland said the win was something she wanted for her team.

“I was ecstatic for my team and especially for my seniors,” she said. “They’ve worked very hard to get in this position.”

The contest was close all night long with neither team scoring until the sixth frame.

Bertie came close in the first when Jody Mizelle led off the game with a single to center and moved to second on an Abby Parker sacrifice. A strikeout and a groundout ended the threat, however.

Neither team was able to get a runner past first base from that point until the fourth inning. In that frame, sophomore Christie Brown singled with two outs and stole second, but a groundout also ended that threat.

In the sixth inning, Bertie finally got on the board.

Holly Cowand beat out an infield single to start the sixth stanza, but was thrown out at home when Mizelle tripled to right-centerfield. After a strikeout, sophomore Courtney Dunlow drilled a triple to center and scored Mizelle. Brown then ripped a double to right to score Dunlow and make it 2-0 in favor of the Falcons.

The Lady Knights were not about to surrender, however, as they put runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh.

Bertie senior pitcher Megan Cowan induced a pair of infield flyouts and a ground out to end the game.

The Falcons were led by Mizelle and Brown at the plate. Both were 2-for-3 while Brown added an RBI. Dunlow was 1-for-3 with an RBI while Cowan and Cowand added one hit each.

Cowan pitched seven innings, allowing five hits and one earned run. She struck out five on the night.

A night later, the Falcons handled Edenton 13-0 to add another league win to their tally.

The offensive highlight of the evening was a first in school history as Brown recorded a homerun over the fence for the first time since softball was changed to a fast-pitch sport. Brown was also successful on three stolen base attempts.

“The entire team hit the ball well yesterday,” Copeland said Wednesday.

Defensively, Parker made a shoestring catch that was reminiscent of one that she made in the Easter tournament. While the one in Greenville was ruled a trap, despite later photographic evidence to the contrary, this one was called a catch.

“Carla Cooper, Courtney Dunlow and Holly Cowand all three made great catches on foul balls,” Copeland said. “Holly had to dive to get to hers, but still made the catch.”

Copeland also praised the defense of Mizelle, the freshman shortstop.

The two victories put the Falcons at 20-1 overall and 9-1 in the conference.

“We still have to take care of business against Hertford County and First Flight,” Copeland said. “Both of those teams are dangerous and we are taking them very seriously.”