03/13/07 — North Duplin blanks Union

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North Duplin blanks Union

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 13, 2007 2:29 PM

CALYPSO -- Jessica Pridgen is her own worst critic.

Despite tossing a three-hitter against Union on Monday afternoon, the North Duplin pitcher felt she could have done better.

Done better?

Pridgen retired the final seven batters she faced and posted her third complete game -- a 7-0 decision over the Spartans. Pridgen collected her fourth mound victory in as many starts and led the Rebels to their first shutout of the season.

"She's not pleased," chuckled North Duplin head coach Danny Blackburn. "She thinks she should strike everybody out. That determination keeps her working hard.

"Jessica is throwing well right now and everyone has confidence in her."

Pridgen notched 10 strikeouts and did not surrender a hit after the fourth inning. The Rebel defense supported the junior left-hander with a flawless effort. First baseman Brittany Carr and catcher Elizabeth Lane recorded 10 putouts apiece, while center fielder Jodie Williamson caught the lone ball knocked out of the infield.

Union (4-1 overall) pressured North Duplin in the second, fourth and fifth innings, but couldn't score. The Spartans stranded seven runners with four in scoring position.

"Their pitcher did a real good job and facing a left-hander is always tough," said Union head coach Douglas Burley. "You've got to come through (in those situations). We were swinging at bad pitches; just didn't go get it.

"You can credit their pitcher for that, too. She's got good movement on the ball."

Blackburn applauded his defense.

"Two years ago, we'd been scared to death (defensively)," said Blackburn. "Now, it's oh well, we've got to do what we need to get out (of trouble). It just took some maturing.

"We're all juniors and seniors now with a lot of experience. We've really bonded."

North Duplin manufactured seven runs (four earned) on seven hits, including an RBI triple by Brittany Coley in a three-run third inning. The Spartans further compounded their troubles by committing four errors, unloading three wild pitches and dropping a third strike.

Wild pitches led to first- and third-inning runs. A mental error covering first base on a bunt sparked the Rebels' three-run, fourth-inning uprising that put the game out of reach.

"We just didn't play our kind of ball; just weren't focused," said Burley.

Junior third baseman Kristen Jones led North Duplin's offense with two hits and an RBI in three at-bats. Lead-off batter Heather Hudson and Carr each provided an RBI. Carr reached base in three of four plate appearances and scored twice.

Jenny Coley and Williamson each contributed a hit.

"We've still got a ways to go with hitting. I wasn't totally pleased," said Blackburn. "We scored and did the things we needed to do to win, but we can do better."

North Duplin improved to 3-0 against Class 1-A Super Six teams this season, and has allowed just six runs in four games.

Union 000 000 0 -- 0 3 4

North Duplin 103 300 x -- 7 7 0

Leading hitters -- Union -- Alli Usher 2-3, 2B; Chelsea Jones 1-3. North Duplin -- Heather Hudson 1-4, RBI; Brittany Carr 1-4, RBI; Brittany Coley 1-3, 3B, RBI; Kristen Jones 2-3, RBI; Jenny Coley 1-2; Jodie Williamson 1-3.

DP -- Union 1. LOB -- Union 7, North Duplin 6. SB -- Hudson, Carr 2, Hill. SH -- J. Coley.



M. Usher (L) 5 6 7 4 1 2

Brummett 1 1 0 0 0 1

North Duplin

Pridgen (W, 4-0) 7 3 0 0 2 10

WP -- M. Usher 3. PB -- McCullen. HBP -- McCullen (by Pridgen).

T -- 1:49.