Kayley Merritt lays down a bunt as the Princeton base runners move into scoring position.

PRINCETON — The Princeton Bulldogs defeated the Rosewood Eagles 12-5 on Monday night.

The top of the first inning started off with Rosewood having a lot of success at the plate.

The Eagles loaded the bases with three singles in a row. They were unable to capitalize after Princeton forced a double play on a ground ball by getting the force out at home plate with a throw to catcher Le’Onna Nelson who stepped on the plate to prevent the run.

Nelson then threw the ball to first baseman Logan Sutton who stepped on first base for the second out. Princeton got the third out to escape the inning unharmed off of a pop up in the outfield.

After getting out of a bases loaded situation unharmed, Princeton scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning of an RBI double from Nelson who scored Meredith Wooten from second base.

Starting pitcher Gracelyn Massey flew through the top of the second inning without giving up any runs. This put Princeton up to bat again in the bottom of the inning where they scored two runs off of errors by the Rosewood defense. The first error was a fielding error that Lilly Homes scored off of, and the second error was a wild pitch that Kaylan Roberson scored off of. After taking a 3-0 lead, Nelson came up big again for the Bulldogs by hitting a two-RBI triple to score Wooten and Iris Anaruma to make the score 5-0.

In the top of the third inning, the Eagles answered back, and cut the score to just one run. The first run of the inning came from Summer Nelson who scored Alyssa Smothers on an RBI single. The next run came when Katie Smith hit a sacrifice fly in the outfield to score Mackenzie Amodeo. Two more runs came from Allecia Langdon who stepped up to the plate with one runner on base, and hit a home run that traveled over the fence in right field to make the score 4-5.

After the Eagles scored four runs in the top of the third inning, it looked it as if they might make a comeback, but the Bulldogs took back control of the game in the fourth inning when Nelson once again came up big at the plate by hitting a three-run home run that scored Wooten and Sutton. The home run was Nelson’s sixth RBI of the game, and it gave Princeton an 8-4 lead in the fourth inning.

After Massey held Rosewood scoreless in the top of the fifth inning, the Princeton batters came up to bat in the bottom of the inning. The Bulldogs scored the first run of the inning off an RBI double from Wooten that scored Kayden Roberson.

Sutton scored the next two runs for Princeton by hitting a two-RBI single that scored Nelson and Wooten to make the score 11-4. Later in the inning, Anaruma came in to score from third base off of a wild pitch for Princeton’s 12th run of the game.

The Eagles scored one more run in the seventh inning to make the final score 12-5.

Princeton head coach Don Andrews said he told his team to keep battling after Rosewood cut their lead to just one run in the third inning.

Andrews praised the pitching from his starter Massey, and reliever Wooten.

“(Massey’s performance was) gutty,” he said. “(She has) a lower back issue, and she strained something, and she went longer than I thought. I don’t want to hurt the young lady. Her health comes first, but she was determined she was going to go and she gave it all until she couldn’t go anymore.

“Thank goodness for Meredith Wooten who we pressed into service last year as a pitcher ... I’m very proud of Meredith. She had a good game offensively and defensively tonight.”

With the win, Princeton improves to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in Carolina 1A Conference play. Rosewood falls to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

Rosewood plays again at home on Thursday when they face Corinth Holders.