ST PAULS — St. Pauls softball head coach Phillip Tyler is trying to teach his team a lesson that is applicable both on and off the field.
“You’ve got to persevere,” Tyler said after the Lady Bulldogs beat West Bladen 3-2 on Tuesday. “That’s what we’ve been trying to preach to them. You’re going to face adversity. How are you going to respond? It’s about life. In life, no one’s going to give you anything.”
The Lady Bulldogs (5-3, 4-3 TRC) showed how well they can persevere against the Knights (4-4, 4-3 TRC), scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning after the visitors tied the game in the top half.
Brianna Brewer registered 10 strikeouts and yielded six hits in the circle for the Lady Bulldogs.
“My teammates kept me up” Brewer said. “Even if they (West Bladen) did get a base hit, they still allowed me to make the plays, and I just thank them for that.”
Kaitlyn Locklear went 2-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs for St. Pauls.
“We battled more than we usually do when we have a close game like that,” Locklear said. “From last game to this game, we improved a lot.”
The game Locklear referenced, an 8-5 win over East Bladen on Friday, saw the Lady Bulldogs produce a few more runs than they did on Tuesday. This time, the emphasis was on scoring when it counted.
West Bladen’s Elizabeth Albright scored Natalie Ludlum from second base with a single to tie the game in the sixth.
The Knights earned two quick outs when the Lady Bulldogs came to bat, but Locklear sparked a rally with a single. Destinee Lowry followed with another single that advanced Locklear to third base.
Kourtney Sanchious plated Locklear with an RBI single.
Brewer secured the victory by not allowing a hit in the seventh inning.
“She (Brewer) is a competitor,” Tyler said. “She comes out and gives her best every day. She’s a great pitcher. For so long, we didn’t have any pitcher, then she came along. She keeps battling and doesn’t let things get to her.”
Sanchious finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. Destinee Lowry also went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Alyssa Suggs went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Knights, who tied their lowest run total of the season.
Madison Collins surrendered six hits and two earned runs to go along with seven strikeouts and a walk for West Bladen.
“All together, it was a great team win,” Tyler said. “Everyone contributed. The top of the lineup wasn’t doing that much, then the bottom came through in the last inning with two base hits.”
The Lady Bulldogs won their first three games of the season before falling into a three-game skid. Tuesday’s win gave the team its second consecutive win coming off that losing streak, but Tyler wants his squad to focus on the game rather than the trends.
“Like I tell them, play one play at a time. We jumped out 3-0, then we lost three in a row because we didn’t do some of the things we’ve been doing,” Tyler said. Now we’re back on a two-game win streak, so hopefully we’ll continue to win.”
The Lady Bulldogs take on winless Douglas Byrd at home Wednesday. St. Pauls had their most productive offensive outing of the season on March 8 in a 23-1 victory over the Eagles.
On the baseball field, St. Pauls cruised to a 5-0 win against the Knights.
Aaron Revels went seven inning on the mound for the Bulldogs, allowing two hits and striking out seven.
The Bulldogs (3-5, 2-5 TRC) earned the victory despite tallying just four hits as a team. Caleb Henderson, Marcus Johnson, Stephen Johnson and Erikison Emanuel each registered a hit.
St. Pauls took advantage of an error-prone West Bladen (1-7, 1-6 TRC) defense to score three runs in the second inning, and tacked on the final two runs in the fifth inning.
Shorthanded Rams top Hoke
RAEFORD — With five players, the Purnell Swett boys tennis team topped Hoke to win 5-4 and take its first conference match of the season on the road.
The Rams got singles victories from Jaron Cummings, Ben Brooks and Pacey Brooks. Jydor Locklear and Cummings along with Ben and Pacey Brooks picked up doubles victories.
Lady Rams earn road win at Pinecrest
SOUTHERN PINES — Sending 11 batters to the plate in the top of the seventh inning to score six runs, the Purnell Swett softball team defeated Pinecrest on the road with a 7-5 win.
Down 5-1 entering its final at bat, the Lady Rams (4-3, 3-2 SAC) scored six runs, highlighted by a Katlyn Jones two-run double to take the lead, and the win from the Lady Patriots. Torie Butler picked up her first win in the circle of her high school career and JaiLenana Deese came on in the seventh to earn her first save of her high school career.
Pinecrest’s Katelyn Chisholm hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Brianna Brewer hurdles a pitch to home as St. Pauls beat West Bladen 3-2 on Tuesday. She allowed six hits and one walk and struck out 10 in the win.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Tester_Brandon.