Rosewood clinches playoff berth behind Meadows
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on May 2, 2007 2:38 PM
CALYPSO -- When Deik Reinhard filled in to coach the Rosewood softball team on Tuesday evening in place of Debbie Bailey, he never expected to walk off the field soaked.
That was the case though as the Rosewood players dumped the water cooler on their one-day coach following the Eagles 7-1 triumph over North Duplin in Class 1-A Carolina Conference action.
The game clinches a state playoff berth for Rosewood, who improves to 10-11 (5-4 Carolina) and eliminates North Duplin (6-11, 2-7) from playoff contention.
"They knew what was on the line and they decided that they wanted it bad," said Reinhard. "It was that simple."
On the flip side, the Rebels picked an inauspicious time to play their worst game of the season.
"We came out flat and just couldn't get ourselves going," said North Duplin coach Danny Blackburn. "We hadn't had one of those (bad) games all year. I told the girls if someone would have said we'd only have one bad game all year I would've taken it.
"It just came at the wrong time though," said Blackburn. "It just wasn't our day."
Blackburn was right, the day belonged to Rosewood from the outset.
The Eagles got to North Duplin work horse Jessica Pridgen all game long as she would allow seven runs on four hits while striking out 10. Pridgen was also victimized by her control as she walked nine batters.
"We've put a lot on Jessica," said Blackburn. "She's pitched in every game this year and hadn't had a bad game all year either."
Rosewood starter Haile Meadows had no such control problems as she allowed just two baserunners in seven innings to pick up the win.
"Haile has gotten so much stronger as the season has gone on," said Reinhard. "She's been shaking the rust off all season since coming back from wrist surgery and I think the rust is gone. Tonight was her night."
Meadows would allow one run on one hit, walked one and struck out six in a complete game effort.
Meadows carried a no-hitter until Brittany Carr hammered a pitch into the right field gap for a triple in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Other than the lone hit, Meadows cruised. She face the minimum three batters in six of seven innings and allowed only two balls out of the infield.
While Meadows' performance on the mound was nothing short of spectacular, she was quick to compliment her teammates who played sterling defense behind her. Meadows would go around the diamond praising every one of her fielders.
"(North Duplin) would have had a lot more hits if I didn't have such good defense back there," said Meadows. "Everybody did really great. I love it whenever they hit the ball real hard they're making these great catches.
"It's a load off my shoulders."
Meadows could relax thanks to her defense and the fact she pitched with the lead all game long.
Pridgen's defense failed her for the game's first run as back-to-back errors on a steal attempt by Christian Bruton allowed her to score. The Eagles would go onto score twice more on an RBI double by Caitlin Armer and an RBI from Jennifer Hall when she was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 3-0.
The lead would grow by a run in each of the next four innings as Pridgen struggled with her control while watching the Eagles get key hits.
From the leadoff spot, Bruton reached base four times going 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and three runs scored.
"Christina was a big offensive weapon for us today," said Reinhard. "They wouldn't pitch to our big hitters and the rest of the girls stepped up."
Meadows also contributed at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI and two stolen bases.
The score could have easily been much greater, but Pridgen was able to get Rosewood to leave the bases loaded three different times.
After the game's final out and the two teams exchanged hand shakes and the celebration began for Rosewood as Reinhard received his victory shower.
"It was cold," said a laughing Reinhard.
Meanwhile, North Duplin and its seniors walked off the field for the final time at home with a disappointing loss on senior night.
"I think we're as good as anyone else in the league, but we just came out flat against a good team," said Blackburn. "I think it was just one of those games."
Rosewood 311 110 0 -- 7 6 0
North Duplin 000 100 0 -- 1 0 2
Leading Hitters -- Rosewood -- Christina Bruton 3-4, 3B, 3 R, RBI; Haile Meadows 2-3, 2B, RBI, R; Caitlin Armer 1-3, 2B, RBI. North Duplin -- Brittany Carr 1-3, 3B, R.
DP -- Rosewood 1. LOB -- Rosewood 10, North Duplin 0. SB -- Meadows 2, Bruton.
IP H R ER BB SO
Meadows (W) 7 1 1 1 1 6
Pridgen (L) 7 6 7 7 9 10
WP -- Pridgen. PB -- Lane 2.
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