Late mistakes haunt Bulldogs in season-ending loss to Perquimans
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 20, 2012 1:52 AM
PRINCETON -- After waiting three days to play a second-round state playoff game, Princeton's season took a dramatic turn in a blink of an eye.
Perquimans took advantage of two costly mistakes by the Bulldogs in the top of the eighth inning and hung on for an 8-5 victory in the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A state softball playoffs on Friday afternoon.
The Pirates' season ended a few hours later at Rosewood.
Danielle Baccas raced home on a passed ball in the top of the second inning to give Perquimans a 1-0 lead. Pirates' starting pitcher Katie Copeland delivered a two-run single and Shelby Spruil added an RBI single.
Baccas' solo home run in the top of the third inning increased the lead to 5-0.
Princeton (14-8) answered with four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Tori Paul supplied a two-run double and Katlyn Peedin added a two-run single. Megan Gerrell's RBI single in the home half of the fourth inning tied the game at 5-5.
"These girls don't fold and we never really have given up on them," Bulldogs' head coach Terry Braswell said. "We usually try to come back and it usually works."
Copeland began to pound Princeton's hitters on the inner half of the plate and the Bulldogs failed to capitalize on critical scoring opportunities. Princeton stranded the go-ahead run on base in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Casey Cartwright reached on a Bulldogs' error to lead off the top of the eighth inning. Cartwright was later thrown out at home on a fielder's choice by Princeton third baseman Carson Braswell.
With two outs and a runner on first and second base, Breann Fields hit a ground ball back to Paul in the pitcher's circle. Paul fielded the ball, turned to look at Braswell at third base and by then had no chance of throwing Fields out at first.
Haley Cooper's two-run single and an additional run that scored on the throw from the outfield turned out to be Princeton's undoing as the Pirates pulled out in front, 8-5.
"That's the way the ball bounces," Braswell said.
Paul endured the tough-luck loss, surrendering four runs (three earned) on 10 hits with two strikeouts and no walks in six innings of relief.
Gerrell led the Bulldogs with three hits in her final career game. Paul and Savanna Massengill each had two hits.
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