CALYPSO - A strong offensive start and solid infield defense provided the perfect recipe for North Duplin’s softball team Monday evening.
The Rebels pounded out a season-high 15 hits, turned a third-inning double play and seized sole possession of the Carolina 1A Conference lead with a 13-4 conquest of Princeton.
ND halted a three-game skid in the long-running series.
“Mighty proud of the girls,” Rebels head coach Ricky Edwards said.
The Bulldogs (3-1 overall, 3-1 Carolina) threatened during their first at-bat, but stranded runners at first and second. An inning-ending strikeout of Averie Daughtry drew a little fist pump from ND hurler Callie Thornton and woke up the sparse Rebel faithful in attendance.
Logan Jones singled and scored on Thornton’s double.
The Rebels tacked on two more runs to make it 3-0.
“We put the ball in play, swung at some good pitches,” Edwards said.
The hit attack continued in the second inning.
Ivey Cashwell, the No. 9 batter in the order, connected on a lead-off double and scored on Jones’ one-out double. Jones and Thornton trotted home on Hannah Martin’s two-RBI double into the power alley.
Martin scored on a wild pitch.
By this time, Princeton had replaced sophomore right-hander Meadow Joyner with senior co-captain Meredith Wooten inside the circle. The two handled pitching duties for teammate Gracelyn Massey, who sat out with a back injury.
Massey has signed with Barton College.
“I was real pleased about how we hit the ball and were able to score runs on them,” Edwards said. “When they did score, we came back the next inning and scored right behind, which settled los down. I was so pleased at how we battled.”
North Duplin tallied a run in five of six innings and dealt Princeton just its 10th league loss in 111 outings since 2008.
Thornton ended the night 4-for-5 with three RBI. Jones batted 3-for-4. Reece Outlaw, who turned the third-inning DP and robbed Princeton of two other hits, collected two hits along with Martin and Skylar Craig (RBI).
Inside the circle, Thornton (4-0) permitted one earned run on five hits, struck out seven and walked three. It was her fourth complete game of the season.
“It’s early in the season, so we’ve got to keep working,” Edwards said.