Bulldawgs get key hit, deny Eagles' title bid
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 15, 2009 1:46 PM
Pride and bragging rights are on the line whenever Princeton and Rosewood meet in any sport.
The archrivals played for bigger stakes Thursday afternoon -- a share of the Carolina 1-A Conference softball championship. And the Bulldawgs emerged the victor in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Hannah Wood delivered the game-winning hit as Princeton edged Rosewood 4-3 and tied county rival North Johnston for the league's top spot. But the Dawgs grabbed the No. 2 seed for the playoffs since the Panthers hold the tiebreaker by sweeping the regular-season series.
The Eagles secured the No. 3 seed, and were denied their first league crown since 2001 and fourth overall in program history.
"Our girls got down twice, and to their credit they never gave up," said Princeton head coach Terry Braswell. "I told them that all they could do was keep playing and worry about the next at-bat."
Princeton responded in its final at-bat.
Down 3-2, senior third baseman Ashley Braswell rapped a lead-off double and advanced to third base when Rosewood misplayed Brittany Baker's grounder. Rebecca Harlan loaded the bases on a fielder's choice play.
Devon Murphy hit into a fielder's choice that led to Braswell getting gunned down at the plate. Still trailing by one run, Danielle Mitchell drew an RBI walk to forge a 3-3 tie.
Wood followed with her game-winning hit. The right-hander pitched a perfect seventh inning to preserve the Dawgs' comeback and seal their regular-season sweep of the Eagles.
"This was such an emotional game, especially for my group of seniors," said Rosewood head coach Tracie Meadows. "I am really proud of the effort that this team showed today. We came out and hit the ball, but it was just a couple of mistakes that cost us."
Rosewood (12-5 overall, 7-3 CC) grabbed its one-run advantage in the fifth inning. Dawgs right-hander Traci Bridgers plunked lead-off batter Megan Church, who stayed alive on the bases after a sacrifice bunt and infield pop-up.
Caitlin Armer drove home Church with a double and eventually scored two pitches later on Kayla Ormond's base knock. Armer ran through Princeton catcher Tylan George at the plate and the collision stirred up the Dawgs' fans.
George dusted herself off and remained in the game.
"Tylan is fine, she's tough," said coach Braswell. "Other than her glasses being broken she didn't show any affects from that play."
Wood claimed the mound win in relief of Bridgers, who permitted three runs (all earned) on eight hits. Rosewood right-hander Haile Meadows, who threw a complete-game three-hitter, endured the mound loss.
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