05/22/13 — Trask eliminates Princeton from 1A softball playoffs

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Trask eliminates Princeton from 1A softball playoffs

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 22, 2013 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- Heide Trask's freshman battery controlled the game.

Pitcher A.J. Johnson filled up the strike zone and catcher Taylor Rivenburg kept base runners in place. The outstanding effort led to the Titans 2-0 win over Princeton in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A state softball playoffs on Tuesday night.

Trask (20-1 overall) faces South Creek in the best-of-three eastern regional championship series, which begins Thursday.

"We are so young I was a little worried about how we would play under this kind of spotlight," Trask head coach Corrina Reece said. "Our freshman in the circle and behind the plate were great, and our seniors made a couple of huge plays that led us to a win.

"Top to bottom, everyone contributed."

Johnson and Princeton pitcher Tori Paul made short work of opposing hitters for three innings.

The Titans finally broke through in the fourth inning.

Rivenburg belted a double with one out and moved to third on Kristina Collier's base knock. Kaela McCoy plated both runners with a base hit to right field, which gave Trask a 2-0 lead.

Princeton put together its best scoring chance with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Casey Johnson singled and Carson Braswell reached on an error. Charley Cox lined a ball to center field, but watched as Titan outfielder Anna Broadmerkel made a diving catch that likely saved two runs.

"We finally strung a few hits together, and pushed a run across and then Anna made the play of the game," Reece said. "Both the RBI base hit and the diving catch were made by seniors. They wanted to step up and make something happen."

Johnson made the 2-0 advantage stand up. The lanky hurler allowed just two hits in a complete-game victory.

"You have to give a lot of credit to their pitcher for throwing strikes and keeping us off balance," Princeton head coach Terry Braswell said. "We have struggled with the bats over the past few weeks, but we have been doing enough in the late innings to pull out some wins.

"Tonight it just didn't happen for us."

Princeton finished the season 19-3 overall and won its seventh straight Carolina Conference regular-season championship. The Bulldogs missed a chance to reach the east finals for the second time in the past three years.

"Obviously, 19-3 is still a pretty darn good year," Braswell said. "Our girls have a lot to be proud of. The experience we gained this year will hopefully help us in the future."