05/19/13 — Princeton softball rallies past Rosewood

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Princeton softball rallies past Rosewood

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 19, 2013 12:01 AM

PRINCETON -- Charley Cox connected on a two-out, two-strike single.

Taylor Carroll fended off a third strike and duplicated Cox.

Kelsey Peedin thought to herself 'I can do the same thing.'

But the confident Princeton freshman needed just one strike. Peedin poked a game-winning, two-RBI walk-off single into shallow left-center field and the Bulldogs escaped archrival Rosewood, 10-9, in third-round action of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A softball playoffs Friday evening.

Princeton (19-2 overall) advanced to the eastern semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons, and plays host to Tri-County champion Heide Trask on Tuesday. First pitch is 6 p.m.

"This crowd right here, as long they've got an out (to spare), they will keep fighting until it's over," Bulldogs head coach Terry Braswell said. "They've got that battle attitude and they believe they can win until it's over."

Rosewood (14-8) pressured Princeton's defense with an aggressive short game that induced three errors and produced six unearned runs during the first 31/2 innings. The Eagles seized a 9-1 advantage and seemed poised to make their second consecutive trip to the eastern semifinals.

Until Hailey Wood stepped inside the pitcher's circle.

The freshman right-hander shut the door on Rosewood and retired the first nine batters she faced, including seven by strikeout. Wood walked Scout Anderson with one out in the seventh, but the Bulldogs gunned down Anderson at third base on a 5-3-6, inning-double play.

"We didn't make the adjustments on offense," RHS head coach Shay Campbell said. "I think it was more intimidation than anything because they've not hit her (Wood) all year. I even challenged the girls, but for some reason when she gets on the mound, we just let our mind go.

"We were undisciplined at the plate on some pitches that is not characteristic of us."

The Bulldogs pulled to within 9-6 in the fourth and chased starter Amanda Beckert (14-6) from the mound. They added two runs in the sixth against right-handed reliever Callie Thornton, which set the stage for the thrilling, edge-of-your-seat seventh inning.

Beckert, who returned in the sixth inning, coaxed the first out from the Dogs on an infield pop-up to Alicia Burns at first base. Left fielder Charlotte Kornegay logged the second out on a well-struck fly ball and Rosewood's fans roared their approval.

Cox (3-for-5) worked Beckert to a full count and stroked a single into center field. Carroll fell behind 0-2 in the box and eventually connected on a base hit to nearly the same spot.

Peedin stepped into the box.

"I knew they could do it, so I went up there wanting to do it, too," Peedin said. "The Lord was with me the whole time. I was praying to Him to guide me and help me. He helped me through it because I was pretty nervous about it."

Peedin (4-for-4, 3 RBI) extended her hands on an outside pitch that sailed over the shortstop's head and dropped into left-center field. Cox and Carroll raced home to give Princeton its 17th consecutive win of the season.