Bulldogs Advance in State Tournament with Victory over South Central
May 25, 2011Nash Central High School
By Kent Wheeless
Rocky Mount - The Nash Central Bulldogs continue their good play in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A softball tournament as they climb up the Coastal Conference ladder. After a second round victory over the Coastal #3 Havelock Rams, the Bulldogs dispatched the Coastal #2 South Central Falcons 2-0 at home on Tuesday night.
Bulldog pitcher Grayson Bass showed good control, and although she did not register a strike out on the night, she walked only one and scattered three hits as she got excellent defense from her team. The Falcons pitcher Caroline Wainwright was move overpowering with seven strikeouts, one walk, while allowing on four hits. The difference was that two of the Bulldogs hits came back to back and resulted in their two run victory.
In the first three innings for the Falcons, only Aston Barbee reached base on a walk while all of the other batters grounded out on the infield. The Bulldogs only placed one batter on base in the first two innings as Leslie Murray reached on an error.
In the bottom of the third the Bulldogs got the only runs that they would need to send the Falcons flying home. With one out Grace Joyner hit weak pop up between home and first base. Falcon pitcher Wainwright dived for the ball but was unable to cleanly handle it and Joyner reached first. That brought up the top of the order in Brittani Strickland. With a 1-1 count Strickland connected for a long fly ball to left field. The ball caught left fielder Paige Davis playing shallow and she could only chase after it as the ball sailed over her head and all the way to the fence. Fleet footed Strickland rounded the bases and was crossing home plate before the ball made it back to the infield.
The Falcons placed one runner on base in each of the next three innings but was never able to get them off of first base in any inning.
In the fifth the Bulldogs threatened again. With one out, Grayson Bass and Joyner both reached on singles to put runners at first and second. Strickland then hit a hot shot toward right field but second baseman Ashley Wynne made a leaping catch and was able to double off Joyner who was on the move on what she thought was a hit.
In the seventh for the Falcons Wynne and Alexis Jones both grounded out to shortstop Strickland but then Brittany Hagerty reached on an error and Davis singled to bring the winning run to the play. Designated hitter Gabby Ochoa fouled one off before hitting a one bouncer back to pitcher Bass for an easy throw out and a Bulldog victory.
The Bulldogs will take one more step up the Coastal ladder as they face #1 D. H. Conley on the road Friday night. Conley advanced tonight with a victory over Big East champion Wilson Hunt. With Southern Nash's 12-0 loss last night to defending state champion SW Randolph; the Bulldogs are now the only Big East team still in the championship hunt.