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Camden softball crushes Bear Grass Charter in third round

Camden 7 Bear Grass Charter 0

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Camden's Hailey Bunting pitched four innings in the Lady Bruins 7-0 win against Bear Grass Charter Bears in the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A state playoff softball game, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at Camden County softball complex.

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By Malcolm Shields
Sports Editor

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CAMDEN — After a sluggish offensive output against Manteo in its second round state playoff game last Friday, the Camden softball team made up for it on Tuesday evening against Bear Grass Charter.

The Lady Bruins scored five runs in the third inning to cruise to a 7-0 victory against Bear Grass Charter in their third round Class 1A state playoff game at Camden.

Camden (20-2-1) advances to the fourth round of the state playoffs where it will host No. 9 Northside-Pinetown in the fourth round.

Northside upset East Carteret, the No. 1 seed in the 1A East Regional, 3-1 in nine innings on Tuesday.

The result sets up the table for the Lady Bruins to host the fourth-round contest.

After Camden took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a RBI single to center field by Carleigh Simmons, the Lady Bruins took advantage of some miscues in the Bear Grass Charter (20-3) outfield in the third frame.

With a runner on second base, a fly ball to left field by Briana Bratton was dropped by the Bear Grass defender.

That allowed the runner to score to give Camden a 2-0 lead.

Camden senior Kayla Russell stepped up to the plate and crushed a pitch to left-center field for a two-run home run to give the Lady Bruins a 4-0 lead.

“It felt really good to hit it. Especially in a playoff game,” Russell said.

Russell, who also plays third base, went 2-for-3 in the contest.

With runners on second and third, Simmons connected on a two-run hit to right field to up the Camden lead to 6-0.

With a runner on in the fifth inning, Simmons recorded another RBI hit as she beat out a soft hit ball to shortstop to score the game’s final run.

Simmons, a freshman, went 3-for-3 in the contest.

Camden coach Charles Nash noted that it was a great performance by his lineup.

The coach was pleased with how his lineup was able to execute bunts to move runners over in the contest.

He added the defense was solid in the game.

The run support was all the Lady Bruins would need as Hailey Bunting got the start in the circle.

Bunting, a sophomore, went four innings and registered 10 strikeouts.

The Camden coach noted that Bunting was under the weather entering the contest.

“I was hoping to get enough runs to get her out and give Hannah a chance to play and pitch,” Nash said.

The coach noted that having Hannah Creech pitch in the contest was valuable because the team will need multiple arms the deeper the team goes in the playoffs.

Creech, a senior, went the final three innings in the circle and retired the Bear Grass Charter lineup in order in the seventh to close out the victory.

After experiencing difficult losses in the state playoffs in previous seasons, reaching the fourth round means something to the club.

“It means a lot,” Russell said of advancing to the fourth round.

Nash noted that facing Whiteville and other tough programs in the playoffs in recent years to go with the annual contests against Perquimans is helping the team now.

“You’ve got to have those games if you’re going to get better,” he said.

Perquimans 11, Williamston-Riverside 2: The Lady Pirates (20-6) knocked off the No. 3 seed Riverside on the road on Tuesday evening.

Perquimans advances to the fourth round of the 1A state playoffs.

Halifax Academy 14, Albemarle School 0: The Lady Colts (6-11), the No. 8 seed lost in the first round of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association state playoffs at Halifax Academy in five innings on Tuesday afternoon.

The contest featured Class 1A teams in the NCISAA.

Halifax Academy (16-2), the No. 1 seed in the tournament, advances to the quarterfinal round of the tournament at Oakwood School on Friday.

BASEBALL

Bear Grass Charter 7, John A. Holmes 4: Edenton (16-10), the No. 10 seed, ends its season in the third round of the 1A state playoffs at No. 2 seed Bear Grass Charter on Tuesday evening.

With a trip to the fourth round of the playoffs hanging in the balance, Beau Dickerson came up with perhaps the catch of the season for Bear Grass Charter School — and ended the season of John A. Holmes in the process.

Dickerson’s diving grab near the foul line in shallow left field was the final out and left two runners stranded, helping the Bears to a 7-4 victory over the Aces in the third round of the NCHSAA Class 1A playoffs Tuesday night.

The Aces trailed 7-2 after four innings but made things interesting late, collecting single runs in the fifth and seventh innings.

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Jaden Bobbitt singled to deep short and advanced to second when Harrison Powell drew a walk from BGC’s Cody Morris, who relieved starting pitcher Jordan Leggett.

Chace Kelly then singled to left field to bring in Bobbitt, cutting the deficit to three runs. With runners on first and second and facing a save situation, Morris coaxed Wes Privott to fly out to Dickerson to end the game.

Holmes took 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning when Privott walked, advanced on a walk to Chris Morris, moved up when Hunter Belch reached on an error and scored when Ryan White grounded into a double play.

The Bears (22-1) responded with five runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead for good.

Leggett led off with a walk, followed by Hunter Forbes’ walk. A walk to Tanner Lyle loaded the bases.

Kelly, Holmes’ starting pitcher, struck out the next batter, but Leggett scored on Ty Johnson’s fielder’s choice and Forbes scored on an error. Lelon Stotesberry’s fielder’s choice moved Johnson to second base, and Johnson scored on a hit by Joseph Perry. Stotesberry took third, while Perry advanced to second on the throw.

Cody Morris then singled to right field to plate Stotesberry and Perry to make it 5-1.

Holmes scored a run in the top of the fourth inning when Kelley singled, stole second and crossed the plate after consecutive groundouts from Privott and Chris Morris.

Bear Grass answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth when Leggett doubled home Stotesberry and Cody Morris, extending the home team’s advantage to 7-2.

The Aces added their final run in the top of the fifth inning when Caleb Daniels walked, moved up to second on Daquan Wilson’s groundout, advanced to third on on Bobbitt’s flyout to center, and scored on a single by Powell.

Bobbitt and Kelley were both 2-for-4 for Holmes, while Powell added the other hit.

Cody Morris had two of the seven hits for Bear Grass Charter, who plays at home against West Columbus in the fourth round.

Kelley suffered the loss after allowing six earned runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked two. Chris Morris and Ben Ward combined for three innings of relief.

Leggett worked 6.2 innings to pick up the win for the Bears after surrendering four hits and four runs (three earned) with two strikeouts and five walks.

Jim Green, The Martin County Enterprise & Weekly Herald

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