• 68°

Bertie defeats SWE

WINDSOR – Good pitchers win when their pitches are exactly where they want them.

Great pitchers win even when they’re hurting and the pitches aren’t exact.

Bertie senior Megan Cowan, suffering through a back injury, proved her worth to the team Tuesday afternoon, pitching a three-hitter to lead the Falcons past SouthWest Edgecombe in the first round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Bertie scored seven runs in the first inning to give Cowan a cushion and never looked back as they rolled to round two.

“We made good contact with the ball,” BHS Head Coach Jackie Copeland said. “We worked together as a team to keep from extending the game past five innings. Other than that, it’s time to prepare for Friday.”

Jody Mizelle started the bottom of the first with a double to left. She scored when senior Abby Parker laid down a sacrifice that was thrown into right field.

Parker then scored when Courtney Dunlow ripped a triple to center. After Christie Brown walked and stole second, Dunlow scored on a wild pitch. Brown advanced to third on the play.

Senior catcher Carla Cooper, who was also struggling with illness, walked and stole second.

Senior outfielder Brittany Hoggard’s infield single scored Brown and sent Cooper to third. Cooper scored on a passed ball that sent Hoggard, who had already swiped second, to third.

Cowan drew a walk and stole second to put runners at second and third.

Holly Cowand scored Hoggard on a squeeze bunt, reaching herself on a fielder’s choice.

Mizelle then ripped another shot to left, this time a single that scored Cooper and sent Cowand to second. A fielder’s choice and a groundout ended the inning, but not before the Falcons had claimed a 7-0 lead.

Cowan cruised through the second and third innings, facing the minimum in both innings while striking out two and forcing four ground ball outs.

The Lady Falcons then added three more in the bottom of the third.

Cowand started the inning with a single to left. Mizelle then reached on an error.

After a strikeout and a fielder’s choice, Mizelle was left at second and Dunlow was at first.

Both came around to score when Brown laced a single to center that was misplayed, allowing all three runners to score as Bertie claimed a 10-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, SouthWest advanced a runner to third on a hit batter and a single, but a groundball to Cowan was fielded and she connected with Cooper to erase the runner at the plate. She then struck out the final batter to secure the win.

“Wednesday and Thursday practice will be cranked up,” Copeland said. “It will be tough mentally, but we will also be working on a lot of physical attributes.”

The Lady Falcons (21-1) are back at home on Friday at 4:30 p.m. when they play host to Southern Wayne High School. Southern comes in at 22-4 after defeating Havelock 9-2 on Tuesday.