Lady Rebels' offense too much for Mariners in round one of playoffs

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CALYPSO, N.C.- A game that was tied at zero quickly opened up in the bottom of the third. North Duplin scored five runs to put them ahead of East Carteret and there was no looking back after that as North Duplin ended up winning 7-2,  pushing them into the second round of the 1A state playoffs.

Sophomore pitcher Callie Thornton once again got the call for the Rebels last night, pitching three straight scoreless innings to kick off the ballgame, but the Rebels' bats were silent up until the bottom half-of-the-third.

Future UMO Trojan Rayanna Koch knocked a double into left field that brought in future ECU Pirate Natalie Ramirez giving North Duplin the 1-0 lead with one out.

Things were just getting started for the Rebels as Thornton reached first base moving Koch to second. Then, sophomore Hannah Martin capitalized on her moment by hitting a rocket to the shortstop that brought Koch home.

With still one out in the inning, Thornton, and Martin stood on first and second. Back-to-back passed balls allowed both runners to score which put North Duplin up 4-0 with two outs in the third. Senior Hannah Brogden was able to reach base and freshman Starr Jaco singled, which allowed Brogden to come around giving the Rebels a 5-0 lead.

Thornton returned to the circle and slipped up for the first time in the game as she missed a pitch up high and an East Carteret batter took advantage of it, sending it over the wall to reduce the Rebels' lead to 5-1 in the top of the fourth.

That home run was the first hit of the game for East Carteret, but Thornton would foil any plans of a rally, getting her team back in the dugout with minimum damage. 

North Duplin got right back to it in the bottom half-of-the-fourth as Koch reached on a fielder's choice and then stole second on the next pitch to put runners in scoring position with one out. After Thornton struck out, Martin once again capitalized sending a shot into left field that drove in both runs giving North Duplin a 7-1 lead. 

Both teams had a quiet fifth inning, but the Mariners added another run in the top of the sixth, making the score 7-2.

That would be the last run any team would see cross the home plate as the Rebels held their ground sending the 18th seed East Carteret packing and advancing them into the second round of the 1A state playoffs. 

North Duplin will face a familiar opponent on Friday as they travel to play their interconference rival, Princeton. The season series is split between both teams.

"We're excited to be advancing to the second and we're going to be excited to play Princeton," said coach Ricky Edwards with a smile as his team mobbed around him to celebrate. 

ND Hitting:
 Natalie Ramirez (1 for 3)
 Rayanna Koch (1 for 4) 2B
 Hannah Martin (2 for 3) 3RBI
 Starr Jaco (1 for 3)
 
ND Pitching:
 Callie Thornton   7 IP, 2 runs, 1 ER, 8 hits, 5 K, 1 BB

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