The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 6, 2013

Lady Cougars force continuation against Gryphons

Associated Press

PINETOPS — PINETOPS – The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars softball team trailed by at least four runs twice Monday and mounted comebacks three times. After the last comeback it resulted in the game being suspended due to darkness until April 24 when the Cougars travel to Rocky Mount to play the Gryphons again. The Cougars second comeback resulted in them tying the game at 9-9.

"I think the bottom of the seventh was where we are going to be this year" first-year head coach Shelton Langley said. "We got motivated and excited after the game, because we saw what type of team we can be. We just built some confidence when we made that last comeback."

Langley wishes his team could have gotten one more run out of the last inning, because he said it would have been a sweater moment.

During the Cougars first game this season, Langley said his team didn't have any type of spark the entire game. He thought his team played entirely different Monday considering the two comebacks they mounted after getting down.

Heading into the bottom of the third inning, the Cougars trailed 4-1 and put a rally together and scored three runs to tie the Gryphons at 4-4. After the Gryphons scored another run in the fourth, the Cougars answered back in the bottom of the fifth inning when Lexi Rhodes started it off when she led off with a triple, then she scored on the an error to tie the game at 5-5.

In the top of the seventh inning the Cougars gave up four runs on three hits, but they didn't go down without a fight. They mounted their third comeback of the game in the bottom half of the inning as the sun began to set behind the trees at Lee R. Hall Sports Complex.

With one out in the inning, Lillian House hit a double to left field, then Logan Thompson hit a missal to right field, but the Gryphons right fielder made a great catch. With two outs in the inning, Logan Baker was called upon to pinch hit. She drilled a single back up the middle to score House. Montana York then reached on an error by the first baseman, which gave the Cougars runners at first and second. Senior Dawson Gould then came to the plate and hit a two RBI triple to right center to score both Baker and York. On the first pitch to Jennifer Britt, the ball bounced by the catcher and Gould scored to tie the game at 9-9.

"We came back twice which shows we have what it takes," Langley said. "You can talk about it all day saying 'you can do it you can do it' but at the end of the game when you make those comebacks it shows what we are capable of."

Langley is hoping this is the start of a new beginning for his young team. He knows that their opponents are going to score runs against them, but he said they are going to have to score runs with them as well.

SouthWest is relying on two first-year pitchers to get the job done for them this season.

Freshman Sydney Gould started for the Cougars. She went 2 2/3 innings giving up four runs. She didn't allow a hit, but walked seven and struck out two.

Gould got into a jam in the third inning after she walked four in that inning and her team made four errors behind her, which allowed three runs to score.

Langley made a pitching change in the top of the third. He brought in another first-year varsity pitcher, Logan Thompson. Langley said Thompson, who is a sophomore, didn't play softball last year due to health issues.

Thompson came and shut the door on the Gryphons rally. She allowed five runs on five hits and walked three and struck out two in 4 1/3 innings of work.

Thompson kept the Gryphon hitters off balance, because she doesn't throw as hard as Gould.

The Cougars collected 11 hits in the game. They had five players who had two hits, Gould, Britt, Lindsey Thompson, Rhodes and House. Gould and Lindsey Thompson both had two RBI.

The Cougars are a very young team this year, because they graduated six players from last years team who played four consecutive years.

SouthWest will be back in action today when they travel to play Nash Central at 4:30 p.m. and then they host Hunt on Friday at 4:30 p.m.