04/06/08 — Benton's triple ends 15-inning marathon

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Benton's triple ends 15-inning marathon

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 6, 2008 4:21 AM

PIKEVILLE -- A showdown for a first-place share of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference softball lead turned into a war of attrition Friday evening.

Torie Benton delivered the game-winning triple in the bottom of the 15th inning as defending league champion Charles B. Aycock slipped past Wilson Beddingfield 5-4. The Golden Falcons (11-2 overall) remained tied atop the standings at 4-0 with county archrival Southern Wayne.

The Bruins, who outlasted nemesis Hunt in 10 innings on Tuesday, exited with a 3-1 conference record.

C.B. Aycock forged a 4-4 tie in the seventh. The teams battled through 71/2 scoreless innings until Benton belted her game-ending, extra-base hit, which scored Brittany Ford.

"I went up there knowing I had to hit because I knew there were some runners on and I knew it was a tight situation," Benton, a sophomore said. "I was just looking to get a hit. I knew the pitcher was going to pitch me outside too.

"They threw me outside and I just went with the pitch. This feels pretty good."

The Golden Falcons loaded the bases in the 13th inning, but came up empty when the Bruins turned an inning-ending double play. Aycock stranded a season-high 19 runners on base.

"Their pitcher was hitting her spots and keeping the ball low and away," Golden Falcons head coach Brad Matthews said. "You have to give a lot of credit to her. She did an excellent job. We got a lot of runners on but we just couldn't get the big hit.

"She was hitting her spots and giving us fits. But, we needed to do this. We got behind and showed a lot of character."

Aycock trailed 2-0 in the sixth before Cara Frederick and Anna Sullivan came through with back-to-back RBI singles to even the score at 2-2.

Beddingfield (6-3, 3-1) took a 4-2 lead in the top half of the seventh on an Aycock error and an RBI single. Ford scored as part of a double steal in the seventh inning trimming the Bruins lead to 4-3. Leigh Smith later delivered an RBI single to tie the game.

Smith and Ford both tallied three hits. Sullivan contributed a pair of hits and an RBI.

Golden Falcon starter Emily Jordan pitched all 15 innings allowing four runs (two earned) on just five hits to go with a career- and school-record 20 strikeouts. Jordan (8-0) didn't surrender a hit after the seventh inning and walked just one during that stretch.

"Emily has been gone on a school trip to Italy and hasn't thrown but about four innings since she's been back before tonight," Matthews said. "She threw a bunch of pitches and I think she got stronger as the game went on. That's unbelievable to be getting stronger that late in the game."

Beddingfield pitcher Tessa Elliot also pitched a complete game, allowing five runs (four earned) on 16 hits with eight walks and five strikeouts.