Lady Falcons win in last at-bat

Published 9:52 am Tuesday, March 26, 2013

WINDSOR – There would be no triple, and we don’t mean on the ball field.

In all her 18 years of coaching softball, and with 16 of those coming at Bertie High School, coach Jackie Copeland had never lost three games in a row.

Tuesday the Lady Falcons were topped by Northeastern at home, 4-1; and then on Wednesday at Kitty Hawk they were taken down in a close one, 4-3, to First Flight in a one-run affair.

Cut to Friday and Bertie was down 4-2 and down to their final three outs while staring at the team’s third loss in a row.

The streak was down to the final out before senior third baseman Brook Bowen slammed a triple that she legged out for an inside the park home run, knocking in a pair of teammates ahead of her and giving the Lady Falcons a 5-4 win over Currituck County in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“That would have been very devastating for me,” Copeland said as she smiled sheepishly and celebrated the come-from-behind win with her team.

“I wouldn’t have said anything to the (girls),” she chuckled. “But there are just some things I just don’t want to happen while I’m here at Bertie High School.”

The win also marked the third straight game in which Bertie was facing defeat, before their bats came alive after being dormant for much of the game. However, unlike the previous pair of tries, this time they emerged victorious.

“We’ve been hitting the pitches these pitchers want us (to hit),” she added. “We have to get better at hitting the pitches that we like.”

Bertie only got five hits Friday but they made them count; and none were bigger than the two they got in the seventh inning.

After Brandice Cullipher drew a walk, Ashley Burkett – who had been oh-for-two in a pair of previous trips to the dish – this time stroked a solid shot down the third base line into left field, moving Cullipher to second and getting at least the tying runs aboard for the Falcons.

Bowen, who had been one-for-three, stepped to the plate with the game on the line and after taking one pitch, and fouling off another, took the third offering from Currituck’s Katelyn Bates to task: all the way deep into center field, where it rolled all the way past the centerfielder to the outfield fence.

“You’ve got to know when it’s your time,” said Bowen, modestly, after the game. “And if it’s not your time you’ve got to hope your teammates can pick you up.”

“Everybody’s got to do their job,” added the Chowan University softball signee. “I wasn’t expecting it; it’s just everybody’s time sometime.”

The first two innings of the game had been a pitching duel between the Knights’ Bates and Bertie starter, Kelsie White, who was pitching in her third straight softball game.

But in the top of the third inning White walked leadoff batter, Rachel Leary, and a wild pitch got her in scoring position at second base. After a strikeout, Haley Sweeney singled; scoring Leary with the game’s first run. Claire Eosso followed and her single to right field brought in Leary for a 2-0 bulge for the visitors. Bertie was able to get out of the inning after that without further damage.

The Falcons got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth when Haley Williams reached on an error, was sacrificed to second, went to third on a wild pitch and came home one out later when Ashley Harmon delivered a liner into the gap in right centerfield. That made it 2-1 after four full innings.

Currituck got two more runs in the top of the sixth thanks to a pair of Bertie errors; but the team didn’t let the miscues get them down.

“It doesn’t matter who makes an error, it’s a team error,” said Copeland. “We don’t put each other down, we pick each other up.”

The pick-me-up came thru as Bertie got out of the inning and sat Currituck down in order in the top of the seventh before the heroics began.

“They didn’t give up,” said Copeland. “They had in mind that they wanted to win this game.”

Bertie raises its record to 2-2 in Northeastern Coastal Conference play and travel to Edenton J.A. Holmes today (Tuesday) before they host Hertford County Thursday in their final game before the Easter break.