06/02/13 — All-Area softball: Princeton's Braswell named top coach

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All-Area softball: Princeton's Braswell named top coach

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on June 2, 2013 1:53 AM

Terry Braswell is uncomfortable taking any of the credit for the success of the Princeton softball program.

He never really knows what to say about the Bulldogs' string of accomplishments during his head coaching tenure, and he always attempts to shine the spotlight away from himself and onto his players.

For the second time in three seasons, however, Braswell is in the spotlight as the 2013 News-Argus All-Area Softball Coach-of-the-Year. Braswell achieved the honor in 2011 when Princeton reached the final four at Walnut Creek in Raleigh.

"Coach-of-the-year is really about the team's success," Braswell said. "I have to give the credit to the girls because they are the ones out there battling every single game."

Princeton finished 19-3 overall and advanced to the eastern semifinals of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A playoffs. Heide Trask eliminated the Bulldogs from the postseason.

During the year, the Bulldogs built a reputation as a team with a flare for the dramatic.

"This team was not going to quit until the other team made the last out in the last inning our girls believed that they could win," Braswell said. "They always kept coming and that led to some big comebacks."

None was bigger than the team's rally against archrival Rosewood in the third round of the playoffs. The Eagles built a 9-1 advantage early in the game and held on to the lead until the final inning.

Princeton came through with three consecutive two-out base hits to claim the victory.

The playoff experience will be useful as the Bulldogs get ready for next season. Just two seniors graduate from the squad, which has led to some lofty expectations for 2014.

"We want to get back where we were this year and maybe even further," Braswell said. "We started four freshmen, and a couple sophomores and juniors so most of the nucleus is in place for another year."

Braswell credits the travel softball programs in Johnston County as well as the middle school program for nurturing the young talent that has fueled the Bulldogs' success.

"Most of our girls have played travel softball and they have been in good competitive environments," Braswell said. "The middle school program does a good job of getting them ready and we take it from there. It makes it easy to coach when the players already know the fundamentals."