05/13/05 — SW softball clinches playoff berth

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SW softball clinches playoff berth

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on May 13, 2005 1:32 PM

DUDLEY -- Some age-old, coaching advice went a long way for the Southern Wayne softball team in a 5-3, playoff-clinching win at home against West Craven.

With a N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A playoff berth on the line, the Saints trailed West Craven 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Coach Brad Matthews needed to settle his teams' nerves.

"My girls were really tense. We had three errors in the third inning," Matthews said. "I told them, 'we needed to go back to the way we've been playing all year and have fun.'

"We were trying not to lose instead of playing to win."

The Saints rallied.

Scarlett Joyner drew a walk, then scored on Haley Fail's triple to tie the game. Fail would score on a wild pitch for the game-winning run. Alyssa Bradshaw, who scored on a ground out by Lindsey Pearsall, and Lindsay Jarnagin also had hits in the fifth for the Saints, who will make their first trip to the postseason in at least 10 years.

With two outs and the Saints (12-8, 8-6 ECC) batting in the fifth, a severe storm halted play and eventually ended the game.

"We just started hitting the ball and putting the pressure on their defense," Matthews said. "My girls fight back every single time. We were at 4-6 in the conference and it didn't look like the playoffs were in the picture.

"My girls never quit."

Southern Wayne's Karen Thornton went the full, five

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innings on the mound. Thornton walked just one and gave up only two hits. None of her three runs allowed were earned.

The Saints travel to face Bertie (9-10), the top seed from the Northeastern Coastal Conference in the first round next Friday.

Southern Wayne and Washington both finished at 8-6 in the league, but the Saints defeated the Pam Pack twice and took the tiebreaker.

"This is a coach's dream. This is what you work for all season long. It's like a new season now," Matthews said. "We've just got to take it one game at a time. I've got four seniors, and they are all leaders. They all want to go as far as possible.

"I think all of them are ready."