03/22/17 — SOFTBALL: Santos, Cottle power Rebels to victory

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SOFTBALL: Santos, Cottle power Rebels to victory

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 22, 2017 10:22 AM


Shay Campbell knew about Alyssa Santos and Brooke Cottle's tendencies on the travel and high school softball scenes.

That's why the Rosewood head coach didn't think twice when each batter stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning.

He called a change-up on Santos.

The junior deposited it over the left-field fence.

Two batters later, Cottle drew a pitch on the hands. She, like Santos, took it for a ride and Campbell -- unbelievably -- watched it sail out of the park. The two home runs spearheaded an eighth-inning uprising that carried North Duplin past the Eagles, 12-7, in Carolina 1-A Conference play Tuesday evening.

"I told myself if she beats me with a change-up, she beats me with a change-up," Campbell said. "We threw it inside one more time. She just sat back and waited on it.

"Cottle ... same thing. I took my chances on trying to stay inside on her, jamming her. But again, the ball just didn't get where it needed to be...(left) it over the plate. We were pretty much deflated at that point."

Cottle and Santos combined for four hits and four RBI as the Rebels remained unbeaten in four outings this season. North Duplin tagged Rosewood right-hander Kaitlyn Kincaid for 15 hits just one night after the sophomore threw a complete game against Hobbton -- a 5-2 loss.

Kincaid threw 143 pitches in 72/3 innings against the Rebels.

"We probably shouldn't have stretched as many innings out of Kaitlyn as we did," Campbell said. "We still felt like she was our best shot going into this game. She just ran out of gas. No zip on the ball, not hitting her spots and we struggled."

North Duplin right-hander Haley Brogden entered the game with a 0.00 earned run average. She and Santos, who has one no-hitter to her credit, had combined to hold three opponents scoreless for 16 consecutive innings.

That streak ended in the second against the Eagles.

Laine Marak crushed a two-strike offering from Brogden, who filed a 149-pitch count, over the left-field fence for a 1-1 tie.

The Rebels built a three-run lead only to see the Eagles tie it at 5-all in the fifth. Toree Marak reached on a fielding error and moved into scoring position on Macy Tyndall's single.

One out later, Keelin Hunter cleared the bases with a two-RBI double that bounced past the out-stretched glove of ND shortstop Rayanna Koch.

North Duplin, the 2016 eastern 1-A regional runner-up, answered with Natalie Ramirez's solo lead-off home run in the top of the sixth. Rosewood, once again, plated the game-tying run -- an RBI single by Toree Marak in the bottom of the sixth.

Each team left a potential game-winning run on base in the seventh. The missed scoring chances set the table for a mind-boggling eighth inning.

"I just thought they did a great job coming back," ND head coach Ricky Edwards said of his team. "It's hard to do that sometimes and I didn't think they panicked. I thought the just kept playing. We got some big hits when we had do.

"I'm tickled to get out with a win."