05/29/11 — Bulldogs rally to advance to final four

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Bulldogs rally to advance to final four

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 29, 2011 1:51 AM

PRINCETON -- Princeton continues to ride the right arm of Traci Bridgers to places its softball program has never been.

Bridgers pitched a complete game and provided the game-tying triple in the Bulldogs' 2-1 comeback win over South Creek on Friday night in the fourth round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A softball playoffs.

Princeton (21-5) advances to face Pamlico (24-4) on June 3 in the eastern regional final at the Walnut Creek softball complex.

"This is just unbelievable," said Bulldogs' head coach Terry Braswell. "We have not been this far in the playoffs here at Princeton I know since fast-pitch started. It is just a good ride and they are enjoying it."

Kimberly Mobley's RBI groundout in the top of the first inning put the Cougars (18-8) in front 1-0.

Princeton threatened with runners on second and third base with one out in the bottom of the first inning. South Creek starting pitcher Lauren Sitterson got Savanna Massengill to fly out and she struck out Nicole Melvin to end the threat.

The Bulldogs had runners on the corners with two outs in the home half of the second inning. Hannah Woodard was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the inning.

Bridgers' one-out RBI triple in the bottom of the third inning scored Megan Gerrell to tie the game at 1-1. Melvin's two-out RBI single gave Princeton the lead for good at 2-1. Gerrell and Tori Paul both finished with two hits.

"Traci got the big hit tonight that made the difference," said Braswell. "We have been up and down with the bats all year. It seems like we do just enough with the bats to win."

Bridgers did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and she retired 20 of the 23 batters she faced. The Cougars put the tying run on base as Mobley led off the top of the seventh inning with an infield single. Taylor Johnson's sacrifice bunt attempt was popped up and caught by Gerrell.

Bridgers got Kaitlyn Sitterson to ground into a double play to end the ball game. The senior-right hander allowed just two hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

"If we can get her a little lead, then she feels comfortable and she will turn on the heat," said Braswell. "She does a great job."