04/13/08 — ECC softball: Saints finally get revenge

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ECC softball: Saints finally get revenge

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 13, 2008 2:02 AM

PIKEVILLE -- Southern Wayne wanted revenge.

Haunted by three one-run losses to Charles B. Aycock on the softball diamond a year ago, the Saints got their much-anticipated win Friday evening.

Lindsey Pearsall made sure it happened.

The senior catcher delivered a timely two-out, two-RBI double in the fifth inning as Southern Wayne upended Aycock 4-2. The Saints (11-2 overall) claimed sole possession of the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference lead at 5-0.

"We wanted this one," said Pearsall.

Aycock dropped to 4-1 in league play and saw its 24-game win streak against ECC opposition come to an end. Meanwhile, the Saints (11-2 overall) ended a 13-game skid against Aycock since dropping to the 3-A level in 2001.

First-year Golden Falcons head coach Brad Matthews, who spent nine seasons at Southern Wayne, knew the Saints were due to beat Aycock. His speculation slowly turned into reality as the game progressed.

A late-arriving crowd, which enjoyed summer-like temperatures, got the pitching matchup they expected.

Saints right-hander Lauren Darden jammed Aycock hitters with inside pitches, and permitted just three hits and four base runners through six innings. Golden Falcon left-hander Emily Jordan opted to live on the outside corner and also yielded five hits, but was victimized by three costly errors.

The miscues parlayed into three unearned runs.

Tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning, Jordan retired the first two batters she faced. Junior designated player Tara Hirsch reached base on an error and moved into scoring position on Alyssa Bradshaw's two-strike single up the middle.

Pearsall drilled the first pitch she saw into the right center field gap. Hirsch easily scored and Bradshaw slid under the tag for the 3-1 advantage.

"I've hit against her and caught for her, so I know what kind of pitches she likes to throw," said Pearsall.

Pearsall finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBI.

"I just wanted to make sure that we didn't give her anything to hit," said Matthews. "We had been pitching her away, but Lindsey did a good job. She just punched the ball into right center field."

Southern Wayne added a sixth-inning run on another error.

The Golden Falcons (12-3 overall) trimmed the deficit in half in the seventh. Anna Sullivan and Jordan sandwiched singles between two outs and Darden loaded the bases on a walk to Amber Baker.

Brittany Ford drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk to close the gap to 4-2. However, Darden escaped when third baseman Morgan Davis snagged Torie Benton's two-strike line drive.

"We put up some big runs," said Saints head coach Michael Wiggs. "They threatened at the end, but with a good pitcher, three runs is a pretty comfortable setting even though it got nerve-racking."

Pearsall's one-out double put the Saints on top 1-0 in the first.

Aycock tied the game at 1-1 on a wild pitch in the third inning, and misfired on a scoring opportunity in the fourth. The Golden Falcons had runners at second and third with one out, but Darden induced a bunt pop-up and strikeout to thwart the rally.

Darden finished with seven strikeouts, while Jordan posted six.

"I really think we out-hit them," said Matthews. "But they got the big hits when they needed them. They got people on base on errors, and get the big hits. We got some hits, but they made some defensive plays to win the ball game for them."