05/08/11 — Bulldogs regain top spot in Carolina 1-A softball race

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Bulldogs regain top spot in Carolina 1-A softball race

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 8, 2011 1:51 AM

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Traci Bridgers threw a complete-game, three-hitter and Princeton regained sole possession of the Carolina 1-A Conference softball race with a 4-2 triumph over archrival Rosewood on Friday evening.

The Dogs (15-5 overall) improved to 7-1 in conference play, while the Eagles (8-8) suffered their second league defeat in nine tries this season. Princeton faces Spring Creek in a doubleheader Tuesday, while Rosewood celebrates senior night the same evening against Ayden-Grifton.

"We played a really good ball game against a really good team," said Dogs head coach Terry Braswell. "I was real pleased with everything that happened. On the mound, Traci did a great job and we hit the ball.

"We did have a couple of errors, but that happens."

Bridgers threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of 24 batters she faced. The senior right-hander retired eight of the game's first nine batters, including five by strikeout.

The Eagles put five runners aboard in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings combined, and scratched out two runs. Amanda Beckert plated Kelsey Kornegay with a two-out single in the fourth, and Scout Anderson scored on a throwing error in the sixth.

Bulldogs catcher Megan Gerrell threw runners out at second base in the third and fifth innings.

"We didn't hit ... perform like we needed to in order to win today," said third-year Rosewood head coach Tracie Meadows. "Whenever it comes to this caliber of ball, every error and every runner is huge. That's the point that we're trying to get across to our girls.

"We're trying to play the mental game, not just the physical game because we've got to have both."

Princeton, the reigning Carolina champ, benefited from a first-inning error. With two outs, Savanna Massengill reached on an infield miscue and scored along with Bridgers on Nicole Melvin's double into left-center field.

Melvin batted 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI on the day.

The early advantage helped Bridgers' mental game.

"I don't really like pitching zero-zero ballgames, and when we get runs ... get ahead, it makes me feel secure," said Bridgers. "If I do give up a hit, it's no biggie because we still have runs on the board to play with. My defense gives me a big comfort zone."

Bridgers coaxed the Eagles into several pop-ups and allowed just two fly balls to leave the infield. Massengill, at first base, and second baseman Katlyn Peedin combined for 11 putouts with no errors.

Beckert surrendered 11 hits inside the circle for the Eagles. The right-hander permitted four runs (one earned), struck out two and didn't walk a batter in a complete-game effort.