05/25/11 — Mayes' walk-off single keeps Bulldogs in postseason

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Mayes' walk-off single keeps Bulldogs in postseason

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 25, 2011 1:46 PM

PRINCETON -- Princeton watched Southside's Savannah Mumford operate inside the pitcher's circle for eight innings Tuesday evening.

The Dogs finally got tired of being spectators.

Ashleigh Mayes' walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Bulldogs to a 1-0 victory over Southside in third-round play of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A softball playoffs at the Fred Bartholomew Athletic Complex.

Princeton advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs for the first time in school history and entertains South Creek on Friday night. The Bulldogs improved to 20-5 and secured the program's first 20-win season.

The Seahawks (20-5) threatened with runners on second and third base with two out outs in the top of the third inning. Princeton starting pitcher Traci Bridgers struck out Valarie Hodges to end the inning.

The Bulldogs had runners on first and second base in the with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Mumford struck out Reandy Hearn to end the threat. Princeton struck out 10 times in the first four innings.

Southside used a pair of infield singles and a fielder's choice to load the bases with one out in the top of the fifth. Bridgers struck out Hodges and Mumford to work out of trouble.

Bridgers scattered three hits and recorded five strikeouts with two walks in seven shutout innings on 108 pitches. The senior right-hander settled for a no-decision. Freshman Savanna Massengill worked two innings of one-hit, shutout relief to earn the win.

"Traci usually steps up when she gets in a bind," said Bulldogs' head coach Terry Braswell. "When she has to bear down she usually gets the job done."

Massengill led off the bottom of the ninth inning with an infield single. Nicole Melvin followed with a single to left field. Two batters later, Hearn's infield single loaded the bases with one out. Princeton had collected just four hits in its previous 25 at-bats prior to the ninth-inning rally.

"That's a great pitcher and she kept us off the ball," said Braswell. "I think we saw her enough that we finally figured out what they had to do. I had been preaching the whole game to stay off the high stuff and they finally did and things started happening."

Mayes lined a 3-2 pitch from Mumford past Seahawks' first baseman Marlin Edwards to score Massengill from third base and set off a wild celebration at home plate. Massengill finished with three hits. Mayes added two hits.

"She got three straight balls on me and I thought she was going to walk me," said Mayes. "Then she threw two straight strikes and I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' I hit that ball and I saw it go past the first baseman and I was jumping up and down.

"Getting a hit earlier in the game gave me that little bit of confidence that I could do it."

Mumford took the tough-luck loss, allowing one earned run on eight hits with 12 strikeouts and three walks in 81/3 innings.