Lady Falcons edge Currituck
WINDSOR – The last time they played they needed 13 innings to settle things.
This time they had a few innings to spare.
Bertie and Currituck met on the softball field Tuesday to settle first place in the Northeastern Coastal Conference. Back in March at Currituck the Lady Knights (12-5, 7-3, NCC) scratched across a single run in the bottom of the 13th for a 1-0 victory.
This time it was Bertie’s turn.
The Lady Falcons got a run in the bottom of the first inning and for the next six frames let pitching and defense do the rest.
The 1-0 Bertie win gave them a league record of 8-2 and a 14-2 mark overall.
Senior righthander Caroline White shook off the discomfort of a pulled muscle and hurled a gem: a four-hit shutout where she struck out nine and walked just three.
She also did her part at the plate; falling a homerun shy of the cycle with a day that featured her slugging a single, a double and a triple. She also drove in her teams only run.
“It (the pulled muscle) hurt a little bit, but I wasn’t going to use it as an excuse,” she said with a grin after the game.
“I’m just glad I had them behind me,” she said nodding toward teammates, third baseman Brooke Bowen and shortstop Haley Williams.
It was Bowen who provided what might have been the play of the game in the fifth.
Playing at the hot-corner with the bases loaded and just one out, she leapt and gloved a hot-shot line drive then stepped on third base for the double play to end the inning.
“My glove was my saving grace today,” said a smiling Bowen; a reference to her going 3-for-3 at the plate batting from the leadoff position.
“I think we wait too late to start hitting and we can’t seem to get enough runs,” she added. “That leads to these close games and all the teams we’re playing have gotten better.”
“We accomplished our goal,” said Williams. “We’re back in first place.”
In the bottom of the first inning Tori Dunlow drew a one-out walk. She was followed by White, who slammed a triple all the way to the fence in right-center field, scoring the only run she would need.
Currituck’s biggest threat came in the top of the fourth inning. With one out, White walked her second batter of the afternoon.
Next came a single up the middle that moved the lead runner to third. That was followed by a slow dribbler in front of the pitching circle to load the bases.
The next batter, the Lady Knights’ Rachel Leary, hit the line shot that was picked off by Bowen, who’s double-play prevented what might have been two Knights runs if not three.
As for White, she followed her first inning triple with a double into the gap in left field in the third inning, and then a single up the middle in the fifth.
Her trio effort and a pair of base-knocks by Ashley Harmon were the only hits of the game for Bertie.
“I’m so proud for Ashley,” said Falcons coach Jackie Copeland. “She had been in a slump lately and this was a great way to break out of it.”
Currituck’s last chance at getting on the board came in the top of the seventh. A one-out grounder was misplayed to put a runner on, who later advanced to second on a wild pitch by White.
However, she bore down and struck out the next two batters swinging for her eighth and ninth whiffs of the day.
“It’s tough because we didn’t make any errors and they only had one more hit than we did; and let’s face it, the third baseman saved the game for them,” said Currituck coach Karen Booker.
“We should’ve had more runs, but the positive note is that we won the game,” said Copeland, who’s team left seven men on base.
Bertie will try and avenge their only other league loss when they travel to Edenton on Friday.