N. Caro­line starts, fin­ishes strong

War­riors rally, but Bull­dogs net fiverun 7th to pick up road ‘W’

Times-Record - - Front Page - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — North Caro­line High’s soft­ball team de­feated long­time ri­val Eas­ton 14-9 Thurs­day, March 30.

Brea Bishop went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a home run. She also pitches a com­plete game in the vic­tor y.

EAS­TON — North Caro­line High’s soft­ball team has spent the early part of this sea­son blud­geon­ing the op­po­si­tion, outscor­ing its first four op­po­nents by a com­bined 59-3.

The Bull­dogs were deep into ad­min­is­ter­ing still an­other shel­lack­ing Thurs­day when it found some­thing its coach­ing staf f col­lec­tively thought it needed: a chal­lenge.

“I knew com­ing into this game this was go­ing to be a team that we were go­ing to have to play hard against,” Bull­dogs head coach An­drea Ward said of Eas­ton. “Even when we were up 8-0, I think I looked at my as­sis­tant coaches and said, ‘We’ve got to keep go­ing.’ Even at that point I didn’t think we had it, es­pe­cially when they started com­ing back.”

Hold­ing a lead that reached nine but was shaved to three, North Caro­line came through with a five-run, six­hit top of the sev­enth in­ning be­fore hold­ing off one fi­nal surge from its long­time ri­val to seal a 14-9 vic­tory that left it one of three un­beat­ens in the North Bay­side.

“The mood never went down,” said Ward af­ter the Bull­dogs im­proved to 5-0 over­all, 2-0 North Bay­side with its small­est mar­gin of vic­tory this sea­son. “We knew we had to keep fight­ing and that’s what these girls did.”

As did Eas­ton, which fell to 3-1, 1-1.

“We had a lot of er­rors and they didn’t let that get to them,” War­riors head coach

Jen Pow­ell said. “They kept bat­tling to get back in the game. It could have been over early.”

North Caro­line cer­tainly ap­peared headed that way.

Brea Bishop (3 for 5, three RBIs) roped the first pitch she saw from Eas­ton’s Pey­ton Elzey (1-1) over the left­field fence for a home run to start the sec­ond in­ning. Two Eas­ton er­rors helped the Bull­dogs push their lead to 3-0 be­fore the in­ning ended.

North Caro­line, which fin­ished with 20 hits, used seven sin­gles to widen its lead to 8-0 in the third. Bishop had an RBI sin­gle, and Mackenzie Werner (2 for 4), Sarah Mast (4 for 4) each sin­gled in runs. Werner and Mast hit con­sec­u­tive one-out sin­gles in the fourth be­fore Aubree Strange (3 for 5) blooped a sin­gle over the head of War­rior short­stop Olivia Ball to plate Werner for a 9-0 Caro­line bulge.

Bishop (4-0) re­tired nine of the first 10 bat­ters she faced — six by strike­out — be­fore run­ning into trou­ble in the fourth. Af­ter is­su­ing backto-back walks to Cameron Foster and Jada Mur­ray to start the in­ning, Bishop worked the count full to Anna Slaugh­en­houpt (2 for 4), who then blasted a three­run homer to draw the War­riors within 9-3.

Eas­ton closed the gap to 9-6 in the sixth. Kate­lynn Miles (3 for 4, three RBIs) hit an RBI dou­ble. Megan Ko­lakowski knocked in a run with an in­field hit. Miles raced home when Ko­lakowski was thrown out try­ing to steal sec­ond for the first out. Bishop then got back-to­back ground­outs to end the rally.

The Bull­dogs re­sponded in the sev­enth.

Ali Ward hit a lead­off sin­gle. Ken­dall Dixon (2 for 4) fol­lowed with a one-out sin­gle. Bishop’s sin­gle to left plated Ward with what proved to be the win­ning run. Two bat­ters later, Mast stroked a two-run dou­ble. An er­ror and Lauren Wil­liamson’s sin­gle ex­tended the lead to 14-6.

“We knew we had to keep be­ing pumped up, stay­ing to­gether, get those runs back and just work to­gether to do it,” Bishop said.

“I think it im­proves the whole team,” Bishop con­tin­ued of the tight game. “It gets us ready for the next game. That’s all we’re think­ing about.”

Eas­ton con­tin­ued scrap­ping, as Tori Weems (3 for 4) hit an RBI sin­gle be­fore Miles plated two runs with a sin­gle to right, mak­ing it 14-9. The rally ended there though, as Bishop in­duced Ko­lakowski into a game-end­ing pop-out to short.

“They hit the ball well. I’ll give them credit on that,” said Pow­ell of North Caro­line. “There were times we prob­a­bly should have been out of in­nings and we weren’t, and they cap­i­tal­ized off those, com­ing up with more big hits.

“But we’re a team of fight­ers,” Pow­ell added. “It makes me feel that even as bad as they may have felt, it was they still wanted to fight and go for it. Pretty im­pressed by that.”

Notes: Eas­ton fin­ished with 11 hits. … Bishop struck out 11 and walked two. … Elzey fanned three, walked two and hit one bat­ter. … North Caro­line, Colonel Richard­son and de­fend­ing Bay­side cham­pion St. Michaels are the di­vi­sion’s three re­main­ing un­beaten teams.

St. Michaels 9 North Dorchester 5

ST. MICHAELS — McKenna Browning went the dis­tance, al­low­ing five runs on 10 hits, walk­ing one and strik­ing out eight to lead the Saints.

An­gel­ica Sichette had two hits and three RBIs for St. Michaels, and Laura Berry fin­ished with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Sa­van­nah Ste­wart scored three times for the Saints.

Mered­ith Bell was 3 for 3 for North Dorchester.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Brea Bishop rips an RBI sin­gle to left against Eas­ton Thurs­day, March 30.

North Caro­line’s Brea Bishop fires a pitch against Eas­ton Thurs­day, March 30.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Brea Bishop blasts a home run Thurs­day against Eas­ton.

North Caro­line’s Abbi Trice stands on sec­ond af­ter her dou­ble to right against Eas­ton Thurs­day, March 30.

PHOTOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Mack Werner rips an RBI sin­gle to left against Eas­ton Thurs­day, March 30.

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