Bertie rolls to round 2
WINDSOR – Not even close.
After Edenton was one of the two conference losses the Bertie High School softball team suffered all season, everyone figured the rubber game would be a tight one.
Well, nobody told the Lady Falcons.
Bertie routed the rival Lady Aces 14-1 in a game shortened to five innings thanks to the 10-run rule making it two out of three against their Northeastern Coastal Conference rivals.
After a regular season that featured a lot of one, two, and three-run games, Bertie broke out the ‘whuppin’ sticks’ in a big way in their 2A playoff opener, banging out a dozen hits and taking advantage of six Ace errors to score the win.
Bertie drove in seven of those runs while the other seven came on miscues: three on errors and four on passed balls.
Caroline White once again led the way in the circle and at the plate. She pitched a one-hitter with a dozen strikeouts and was 2-for-4, scoring four runs and driving in three.
Kelsey White was 2-for-4 with a couple of RBIs while Haley Williams and Lauren Dunlow drove in a run apiece.
Camryn Byrum got the lone hit for Edenton and Gabriel Byrum scored on a two-out throwing error.
Bertie coach Jackie Copeland says the difference may have been her method in practice all week of, shall we say, ‘reinforcement.’
“We were popping up too many high balls and every time they hit a high ball, they ran; and I’m not talking sprints, either,” said the coach after the game. You’re gonna make mistakes, but we were making too many. I told them to just get up there, make a good level swing, and don’t drop your shoulder.”
Whatever it was, it must have worked because the Lady Falcons batted around twice in the game.
Bertie started things off in the bottom of the first inning The Falcons got back-to-back base hits from Tori Dunlow and Caroline White.
One out later, Kelsey White reached on an error; the same miscue allowing Dunlow to score from second base with the game’s first run. Caroline White moved to third and scored later on a passed-ball.
The Falcons led 2-0 after one.
In the second inning, Bertie sent 10 batters to the plate and four of them later crossed it. Morgan Howell opened with an infield base hit and stole second. Brook Bowen then drew a one-out walk.
Tori Dunlow then hit a dribbler in front of the plate, but reached on an error that also allowed Howell to score the game’s third run all the way from second base. Bowen moved to third, where she scored on a passed-ball to make it 4-0.
Caroline White followed with a hit to the Edenton shortstop that went between her legs for an error allowing Tori to score from third.
A base hit and a walk loaded the bases for Bertie before Lauren Dunlow’s blooper just behind second base became the game’s first legitimate run-batted-in and upped the score to 6-0.
Edenton got on the board in the third inning. It came courtesy of a two-out walk, a single up the middle, and a Bertie error that erased the shutout.
Bertie was undeterred, however, as they once again sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the frame.
A walk and two singles loaded the bases before Caroline White cleared them with a triple that rolled all the way to the left field fence. Haley Williams came up next and drove in Caroline to make it a 10-1 game.
Bertie loaded the bases twice more and put up two more runs for a six-run inning on just five hits.
Over the next inning-and-a-half Bertie got two more runs while Caroline White retired six of the final seven batters she faced, three by strike out.
“Errors made this game ugly, early and late,” said Edenton coach Dennis Bannick. “We gave them some runs with those six or seven errors; but give them (Bertie) credit, they put the ball in play and their pitching was outstanding.”
“We played Southside in a non-conference game Tuesday and I think that got us prepared,” Copeland said. “I told them every time you win a state playoff game it’s going to be cranked up more.”
Bertie (19-3) will next host Bunn in the second round at home in Windsor on today (Tuesday).