Smithfield: Sports

The 2016 Princeton Bulldogs softball season: game-by-game results

March 4, 2016 - Princeton 2, North Johnston 1

The Bulldogs opened up the season against their talented 2A county rivals and clipped the Panthers thanks to what would become the first of many quality starts turned in by senior pitcher Hailey Wood. Wood struck out 12 batters often getting ahead in the count with 20 first-pitch strikes in the complete game victory.

Megan Bryant reached base in the top of the seventh inning on a sacrifice bunt and later scored thanks to a Brianna Myers single up the middle. The Panthers loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame but Wood struck out Kelly White to nail down the win. Bryant had helped to give Princeton the early lead on a RBI double in the third inning, plating Kelsey Peedin.

March 10, 2016 - Princeton 18, James Kenan 0

A patient Princeton lineup still needed only four innings to dispatch of the Tigers while Beth Braswell and Hailey Wood combined for a perfect shortened game. The Bulldogs were walked 17 times and turned many of those free passes into runs. Sophomore Emily Ricks drove in four runs while Taylor Carroll led the club with three hits, including a pair of triples, and also drove in three runs.

Wood struck out seven of the nine batters she faced in three innings and Braswell came on in relief and struck out the side in the bottom of the fourth inning.

March 11, 2016 - Princeton 18, Southern Wayne 0

The Bulldogs went on the road once again and easily defeated the Saints. Wood again earned the victory, this time in just five innings of work. Wood struck out 10, walked none and allowed just three hits.

Princeton jumped out to the 8-0 lead after just two innings and was never troubled. Braswell, Carroll and Myers all turned in two-hit performances as the Bulldogs jumped all over Southern Wayne pitching, belting out 11 hits.

Mar 17, 2016 - Princeton 11, Hobbton 0

Beth Braswell’s two homeruns powered Princeton past the Wildcats in the Bulldogs’ home opener. Braswell also earned the win striking out seven and giving up just one hit. The junior had great control for the game with 43 of her 57 pitches going down for strikes.

Princeton scored all of its runs in the first two innings, including a seven-run outburst in the first. Carroll and Ricks also recorded two hits apiece as Megan Bryant and Kelsey Peedin each drove in two runs.

March 18, 2016 - Princeton 4, North Johnston 1

The Bulldogs fell behind for the time of the season against the Panthers when North Johnston jumped out to the 1-0 lead after the top half of the first inning. Princeton responded with a run in the bottom of the frame and then used a three-run third inning to earn the victory. Taylor Carroll went 2-for-2 at the plate including a two-run single in the third.

Wood struck out 16 batters for the Bulldogs and needed 136 pitches to dust off the Panthers to earn the win. The Panthers’ lone run came on a passed ball with a runner on third base. Wood allowed just four hits in the complete game victory, which moved Princeton’s record to 5-0 before spring break.

April 5, 2016 - North Duplin 7, Princeton 6

In what would become the first of six battles between the two best teams in the Carolina 1A Conference, the Rebels took round one as the defending state champions were the first team to have any success at all against Wood. Four Princeton errors didn’t help the cause, however, but neither did a Rylee Pate homerun as the Bulldogs dropped their first game of the season. Wood took the loss giving up six runs of which just two were earned.

Beth Braswell finished the game just a homerun shy of the cycle and allowed just one run in three and 2/3 innings of relief work. Emily Ricks homered for the Bulldogs to give Princeton the early 2-0 lead. In the end, leaving 20 runners on base was too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.

April 7 - Princeton 17, Lakewood 0

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to get back to their winning ways as a pair of six-run innings to start off the game staked Princeton to a huge lead. It was a lead that Braswell welcomed as she was in cruise control from the pitcher’s circle, tossing the complete game, one-hit shutout.

Princeton totaled 15 hits for the game with eight different Bulldogs getting in on the action. Hailey Wood was a perfect 4-of-4 at the plate, drove in four runs and blasted a two-run homer. Brianna Myers recorded three hits while Myers and Ricks also enjoyed multi-hit games.

April 8 - Princeton 15, Spring Creek 0

Princeton pounded out 18 hits and scored in each of the game’s first four innings to cruise past the Gators. Beth Braswell, Megan Bryant, Taylor Carroll, Casey Mitchell and Kelsey Peedin each had three hits for the Bulldogs. Braswell drove in five runs including a three-run shot over the fence.

Hailey Wood picked up the win, striking out 10 batters in four innings while allowing just one hit and one walk.

April 14 - Princeton 15, James Kenan 0

The Bulldogs completed the season sweep over the Tigers in similar fashion to the first game between the two teams. Beth Braswell tossed the game-shortened no-hitter striking out six.

Princeton was a perfect 9-for-9 in the stolen bases department and drew 14 walks in the rout. Karlyn Woodard drove in two runs to lead Princeton. Wood offered a RBI single while both Braswell and Myers doubled.

April 15 - Princeton 13, Rosewood 0

Hailey Wood’s no-hitter paved the way for the Bulldogs’ lopsided win over rival Rosewood. Wood did allow three walks but otherwise mowed down the Eagles with ease. Wood also homered twice and drove in five runs.

Myers and Mitchell each supplied three base hits with Mitchell driving in a pair of runs and Myers knocking in one. Once again, a fast start helped Princeton as the Bulldogs scored three runs in the opening inning and then four more in the second to take complete control of the contest.

April 20 - Princeton 15, Southern Wayne 0

Princeton improved to 10-1 on the season in convincing fashion yet again in blowing out the Saints. Once again, Wood was dominant in the circle for the Bulldogs as the senior allowed just one hit while striking out nine.

Myers was perfect at the plate, totaling four hits in as many at bats and drove in four runs. Mitchell and Wood each doubled twice and drove in two runs. In all, Princeton compiled 18 hits in just four innings before the mercy rule ended the game early.

April 25 - Princeton 13, Hobbton 0

It was Beth Braswell’s turn to deliver a dominant pitching performance and the junior did not disappoint. Braswell struck out 16 batters in the complete game win and the Bulldogs pounded out 18 hits for the second consecutive game for yet another lopsided victory. Braswell allowed just four hits for the contest.

Myers led all Princeton batters with five hits and the sophomore drove in two runs. Carroll was 4-of-5 at the plate and drove in three runs.

April 26 - Princeton 18, Spring Creek 0

Once again, Spring Creek was no match for the Bulldogs. Princeton made quick work of the Gators scoring three runs in the first inning, six in the second, four in the third and five in the fourth inning. Mitchell and Myers each blasted two-run homeruns and the Bulldogs recorded 13 hits.

Wood didn’t need much of that run support, however, as the Appalachian State University commit threw a no-hitter. Wood struck out nine and walked just one and needed just 49 pitches to close out Spring Creek in four innings.

April 28 - Princeton 1, North Duplin 0

It took 11 innings but the Bulldogs finally avenged their only defeat thus far on the season in besting the Rebels. Hailey Wood was superb in turning back North Duplin. The senior struck out 10, walked four and scattered five hits in the 168-pitch masterpiece.

The Bulldogs managed just three hits off of North Duplin starting pitcher Rylee Pate but one of those was a big one as Casey Mitchell homered off Pate in the top of the eleventh inning for the game’s only run. Carroll and Peedin had the only other hits on the night for Princeton.

May 6 - Princeton 15, Lakewood 0

Princeton ran its win streak to nine games and registered its ninth consecutive shutout as well in routing the Leopards. The Bulldogs needed just three innings to post 15 runs on the board. Mitchell led the hit parade with three base hits. Bryant, Myers and Wood all turned in two-hit performances for Princeton.

Wood earned the victory for the Bulldogs. Wood allowed just one hit for the game and struck out four batters.

May 7 - Princeton 17, Rosewood 1

The Bulldogs allowed their first run in over a month but still clinched a share of the Carolina Conference title with yet another blowout win. Braswell picked up the win in allowing just the one run on four hits while striking out six batters.

Braswell, Bryant, Carroll and Peedin each did their par at the plate in driving in two runs apiece. Myers led all batters with three hits, including a double. The win necessitated a tie-breaker game hours later against North Duplin as the two teams finished the conference slate with identical 11-1 marks, having split in their head-to-head matchups.

May 7 - Princeton 3, North Duplin 0

The Bulldogs secured the top seed from the Carolina Conference and the top seed in the east region in advance of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A state playoffs with their second consecutive win over the defending state champions. Wood allowed just two hits in the complete game shutout victory. Wood struck out 11 Rebels and walked just one batter.

It took some time for the Bulldogs to get to the Rebels’ Haley Brogden but Princeton scratched through in the fifth inning when Brianna Myers doubled in Kelsey Peedin and Megan Bryant with two outs. Braswell then hit a homerun off of Pate, who came on in relief, in the sixth inning for some insurance.

May 10 - Princeton 18, Northampton County 0

The Bulldogs opened up play in the 1A state playoffs in dominant fashion as Princeton followed the lead of Beth Braswell, who tossed a no-hitter. Braswell struck out 11 batters, walked just one and was in complete control from the outset.

Braswell was also a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and knocked in three runs. Megan Bryant hit a homerun for the Bulldogs, who put up six runs in the opening inning and then seven in the bottom of the second to blow the game wide open quickly.

May 14 - Princeton 3, East Columbus 2

The Bulldogs looked to be in trouble in their second round game against the No. 16 seeded Gators from the Three Rivers Conference. East Columbus took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning and then doubled it in the seventh on an Isabella Lennon RBI single. Potentially down to its last three outs on the season, Princeton put together a three-run rally, which began with a Kelsey Peedin walk and a Megan Bryant double. A Brianna Myers single scored Peedin and, after Bryant was picked off at third base, Taylor Carroll tied the game with double that plated Myers. After Carroll advanced to third on a Hailey Wood infield single, Beth Braswell grounded to first but Carroll reached home base before a play could be made at the plate.

Wood earned the win in going the distance and allowed five hits while striking out four. Bryant and Wood led the Bulldogs, both going 2-for-4.

May 18 - Princeton 2, East Carteret 1

Late game heroics were yet again in order for Princeton to get past scrappy East Carteret in the third round. With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hailey Wood’s double scored Taylor Carroll to give the Bulldogs the 2-1 lead. The Mariners got the potential game-tying run on base but Wood coaxed a fly ball to centerfield where Megan Bryant was waiting to make the catch to seal the game.

Wood struck out 12 batters for the game to earn the complete game victory. Princeton took the lead in the bottom of the second inning when Emily Ricks doubled in Wood, who had led the inning with a walk. The win moved the Bulldogs to 19-1.

May 20 - Princeton 4, Perquimans 0

The Bulldogs picked up their 20th win on the season in typical fashion. Wood shut down the opposition while Princeton came up with the timely hits in order to advance to the eastern regional championship series for the second time in three years. Wood picked up the win, her 14th win of the season, by allowing just one hit while striking out 10.

RBI singles from Braswell and Carroll and a run-scoring double from Mitchell, all in the bottom of the fourth inning, gave Wood a 3-0 lead to work with which proved to be all the run support she would need. Braswell added a double to plate Carroll in the sixth inning for some insurance.

May 24 - Princeton 1, North Duplin 0

The two conference foes picked up their rivalry right where it left off, in a pitchers’ duel. Wood matched North Duplin’s Rylee Pate pitch-for-pitch and a Casey Mitchell RBI single to left field accounted for the lone run of the game. Despite out-hitting Princeton 6-3, the Rebels were denied by a pair of nice defensive plays supplied by Carroll at shortstop. Wood ended the game with nine strikeouts and no walks in another typically great pitching performance for the senior.

Wood led off the bottom of the second with a single to leftfield, advanced to second base when Beth Braswell was walked and moved to third base on an Emily Ricks’ groundout. Mitchell lined a shot to left field that gave the Bulldogs the early lead and Princeton held on for its 16th consecutive win.

May 26 - North Duplin 2, Princeton 1

The Rebels’ Rylee Pate had her curveball working and located pitches well all night in shutting down the Bulldogs in their first loss in 51 days to even up the regional championship series at one game apiece. Pate threw six and 2/3 innings of no-hit ball before Beth Braswell provided Princeton’s lone bright spot of the evening: a solo homerun that cut the lead to 2-1. The game ended on the very next pitch when Ricks lined out to second base.

Courtney Brock and Alyssa Santos delivered the run-scoring base hits in the bottom of the fourth inning to give North Duplin the 2-0 lead. Pate earned the win, striking out nine and walking one. Wood struck out seven batters in the tough loss, allowing just one earned run.

May 27 - Princeton 7, North Duplin 0

After being held in check for much of the series, a little extra batting practice before Game 3 of the regional championship series paid off for Princeton. The Bulldogs exploded for seven runs on eight runs including the all-important opening run of the game in the bottom of the first inning to advance to the state championship series. Small ball led to the first run as Megan Bryant led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on a bunt, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly to left and then scored on a sac fly to right.

The Bulldogs managed two more runs against Pate on a RBI single from Carroll in the third and on a passed ball in the fifth, before tacking on four more runs on Brogden in the sixth to blow the game wide open. Carroll and Myers each had a pair of hits to lead the Bulldogs. Wood scattered four hits, struck out 10 and walked none in the series clincher.

Compiled by Michael Held