05/26/10 — NCSSM turns back Princeton on 1-A scene

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NCSSM turns back Princeton on 1-A scene

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 26, 2010 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- One more hit was all Princeton needed.

N.C. Science & Math hurler Whitney Johnson made sure that they never got it.

The Unicorns scored three runs in the top of the third inning and held off a late rally to down the Bulldogs 4-2 in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A softball playoffs.

"We had opportunities to score and we just could not get the big hit with runners in scoring position," said Princeton head coach Terry Braswell. "It was pretty much the game that I expected, we just came up on the wrong end."

The Unicorns opened the game with a quick run in the top of the first inning.

The Bulldogs answered one inning later. Hannah Woodard singled to lead off the inning and immediately stole second. Jessica Smith followed with an RBI single.

NCSSM broke the tie in the third frame when Johnson singled, Courtney Applewhite belted a base hit and Cameron Shoaf lined a two-run double into the right center-field gap. Shoaf scored two batters later on a wild pitch.

"We made a couple mistakes early in the game and it cost us a run or two," said Braswell. "I think the speed at the top of their order made us rush things a little bit and they capitalized."

Princeton cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rebecca Harlan belted a double and scored when Woodard reached on an error.

The Dawgs tried to rally for a second time in the home half of the seventh.

Harlan ripped a single and was moved to second on a base hit by Tylan George. Smith delivered a shallow hit that loaded the bases with two outs.

Johnson gritted her teeth and got the final out on a pop-up to shortstop.

The Bulldawgs left the bases loaded twice in the game.

"It's tough because it was such a close game," said Braswell. "Hopefully we can learn from this and make a run like this next season."

Traci Bridgers suffered the hard-luck loss in the pitcher's circle despite tossing a complete game and striking out five batters. Princeton concluded the season 17-7 overall.