06/17/12 — Amazing run for Bell

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Amazing run for Bell

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 17, 2012 1:52 AM

Brooke Bell finally got to feel the thrill of throwing the last strike. And the Charles B. Aycock senior experienced the mob scene inside the pitcher's circle as teammates rushed to greet her after the final out. It was a moment that Bell will never forget.

"This whole season has been amazing," Bell said. "There is no way to explain how great it felt to get the last out of the championship game and to know that we were state champions."

For her efforts, Bell has been named the 2012 News-Argus All-Area Softball Pitcher-of-the-Year. It is the second consecutive season that Bell has won the award.

The end result of hoisting the trophy was the product of a brilliant career highlighted by hard work and consistent effort. During her freshman season the Golden Falcons made the trip to Walnut Creek, but finished third in the state. Two consecutive seasons of second-round exits from the state playoffs motivated Bell to be her best in 2012.

A hot start with wins over perennial powers Wilson Hunt and D.H. Conley got the Golden Falcons off on the right foot. Two losses in the next three outings brought them back to Earth. That is when the seniors stepped up and the team buckled down.

A victory over Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference rival South Johnston ignited a 26-game winning streak. C.B. Aycock rolled to an undefeated record in league play and cruised through the conference tournament.

"The run we had was something I have never experienced as a coach," Golden Falcons head coach Brad Matthews said. "The level of focus was near the top every single game."

Bell was in the pitcher's circle for almost every inning of the run.

Once the state playoffs started there was no doubt about who was getting the ball. The Pitt Community College signee delivered five consecutive shutouts to begin the playoffs and allowed just 11 total hits in those games. Bell allowed four runs in the deciding game of the eastern regional championship series against Western Alamance, but gutted out a 5-4 complete-game victory.

"We have had the kind of offense that can put runs on the board in bunches all season," Bell said. "It made it nice for me knowing that I didn't have to go out and try to win every game 1-0."

The Golden Falcons' winning streak came to an end in the opening game of the state championship series against Fred T. Foard. A 1-0 loss put the team in dire straits for games two and three. The squad responded and rallied for a 4-3 win in game two and a 7-2 triumph in the final game.

Bell pitched all 23 innings of the championship series.

"Brooke gave us a chance to win every game this season," Matthews said. "She was lights out most of the time and even when she wasn't, she battled until the final out."

An out that led to a big celebration.