Lady Falcons earn trophy

Published 9:28 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

WINTERVILLE – The Bertie High School softball team used their Easter holiday break not for time away from the game, but rather to shore up their recent field play. The end result were the Lady Falcons taking two out of three games in the recently-concluded 2013 D.H. Conley Easter Softball Tournament, where they won their division and brought the trophy back home to Bertie County.

After a loss in their opening game of the tournament, the Lady Falcons won their last two contests for a 2-1 finish.

Things didn’t begin well for the girls in blue as they opened play with a pair of games on Saturday. Bertie was leading 7-4 in the late innings to Washington High School before the Lady Falcons surrendered five runs in the final two innings and then saw their comeback snuffed out as they eventually lost 9-7 to the Lady Pam-Pack in their opening game.

“It was a good game,” said veteran coach Jackie Copeland. “It went down to the wire and even in the end we had a chance to win. “

“I told them that I wanted them to go out and focus on hitting the ball and working on fundamentals,” she added. “We eventually started hitting the ball well, and we played good defense.”

Saturday afternoon Bertie was matched against 4A New Bern and this time had more positive results, winning 7-6 in extra innings as they scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The game was played by the international softball tie-breaker rules.

In the top of the eighth, with the score tied at 6-6 Bertie’s defense came through as first Morgan Howell made a spectacular catch in the outfield and then rifled a throw to third base on one bounce where third baseman Brook Bowen applied the tag to the Lady Bears runner and end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Brandice Cullipher got on base via a walk and thanks to the next two Falcon batters was sacrificed all the way to third. Tori Dunlow then stepped up and hit a hot-shot RBI single up the middle to score Cullipher with the go-ahead, and eventual winning, run.

Ashley Harmon pitched the first four innings and eventual winner Kelsey White pitched the last four to get the win. Saturday Haley Williams and Bowen played great defense for the Lady Falcons while hitting honors for the two games went to Dunlow, Cullipher, Williams, and Howell.

The split on Saturday kept Bertie in the running to win their flight on Monday when they were matched against Havelock and the Lady Falcons won this one in a runaway, 7-1, to claim the championship.

Bertie scored six runs in the first inning and never looked back. The Falcon pitching and defense held the Lady Rams in check, as they up just one run over six innings.  Bertie tacked on an extra run in the seventh inning to win by six runs.

Kelsie White pitched four innings to get the win while relief help came from Ashley Harmon who pitched the last three innings of shutout softball.

Howell, Williams, and White each had one run-batted-in for the win.

“The whole team contributed,” said Coach Copeland. “We were in the game offensively as well as defensively to pull off this championship. Everyone helped us to claim the title.”

Bertie is off until April 10 when they will host Southside High School from Chocowinity before returning to Northeastern Coastal Conference play on April 12 when they will try to avenge one of their two losses in league play hosting First Flight.