Lady Falcons advance to round two

Published 10:21 am Thursday, May 21, 2009

WINDSOR – One game at a time.

Bertie High School softball skipper Jackie Copeland has been preaching that message all season.

The one game Tuesday was a first round North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoff game against West Carteret High School and the Lady Falcons did just as asked – took care of one game.

The Falcons jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, scoring a 7-1 victory over West Carteret and advancing to Friday’s second round matchup with James B. Hunt High School. That game will be played at 5 p.m. Friday in Windsor.

Bertie got started quickly when Jody Mizelle ripped an inside-the-park homerun during the first at-bat for the Falcons. The score was the first of two in the inning and gave BHS some early confidence.

“The second pitch of our at-bat when Jody hit that homerun set the tone for the game,” Copeland said. “It got our team really pumped up and my heart was already racing 100 miles per hour.

“I was excited for Jody and for the team because it gave us some confidence early on,” she added.

After Mizelle’s homer, Caroline White doubled to center field and advanced to third on a base hit by Terri-Lynn Smith. White scored when Sandi Todd reached via an error to give Bertie a 2-0 lead.

The Lady Falcons scored again in the bottom of the third inning. Senior Courtney Dunlow drew a walk and raced to third when White doubled for the second time. Dunlow went home on a passed ball which advanced White to third.

White scored when Chelsea Dunlow reached on an error to increase the Bertie lead to 4-0.

White cruised on the mound through the first three innings, allowing just one hit during that time. West Carteret finally got on board in the fourth frame when Tia Caldwell singled and eventually scored after the Lady Patriots drew three straight walks.

White pitched herself out of the jam, however, striking out three batters to preserve the 4-1 lead.

Bertie jumped right back on the board in their half of the fourth, scoring a run on two hits.

With two out, Mizelle tripled to center field and scored when Courtney Dunlow singled to center, giving the Lady Falcons a 5- 1 lead.

BHS added another run in the bottom of the fifth frame when Andrea Dunlow reached on a two-base error and scored on a Whitney Castelloe RBI-single to right-center.

The final run for the Falcons came in the bottom of the sixth when Mizelle reached on a two-base error, went to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball to make it 7-1.

White scattered three hits during the contest, allowing one unearned run, and picking up her first playoff victory.

“I went with the freshman for a couple of reasons,” Copeland said. “One, I wanted to start a right-hander and two, because even though both of them can play first base well, I wanted Courtney at first. I felt like she gave us some pep there because she is always talking up her team.”

For the Falcons, Mizelle was 2-for-3 with a triple and a homerun while White was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. Todd, Smith, Dunlow and Castelloe added one hit each.

The Falcons were still without starting centerfielder Kaitlyn Dunlow and second baseman Christie Brown.

“Kaitlyn and Christie are coming along with their injuries,” Copeland said. “The players who have come in are doing a very good job for the team, but we miss the experience of the two seniors. We’re ready for them to come back as soon as they are released.”

The Falcons will now host Hunt Friday in the second round.

“I’m looking forward to Friday because we like playing in good games and Hunt is a good team,” Copeland said. “Obviously, we want to win and make it to the third round. We’re excited about the opportunity to play another game.”