Whenever Rosewood and Princeton face-off, no matter the sport, fans of both teams can expect a hard-fought game, and Monday evening on the softball field was no exception.
After watching a five-run lead slip down to one run, Le’Onna Nelson hit a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to push Princeton ahead 8-4.
The Bulldogs went on to defeat Rosewood 12-5 in a key Carolina 1A Conference game.
“Swinging the bats was a big thing,” Princeton head coach Don Andrews said. “Overall, we played a team game tonight, and everybody got involved defensively or offensively.”
Princeton’s Gracelyn Massey was equally impressive in the pitcher’s circle.
Dealing with a back injury, Massey showed her mettle in the top of the first inning when Rosewood loaded the bases with no outs, but the Bulldogs managed to escape the inning unscathed.
“Gracelyn is still battling a back injury. She gutted it out, and it’s something she’ll have to work through the rest of the year,” Andrews said. “Tremendous heart and effort out of her.”
In the bottom of the first inning, Nelson hit an RBI double to get the Bulldogs on the board. Later in the bottom of the second, Princeton took a 5-0 lead when Nelson hit a two-RBI triple.
However, in the top of the third, the Eagles started to claw their way back into the game.
Summer Nelson’s RBI single and Katie Smith’s RBI triple cut Princeton’s lead down to 5-2. Allecia Langdon’s two-run home run then made it a one-run game.
“Rosewood is a good team,” Andrews said. “I have to give them credit because they don’t quit.”
Princeton was unable to score any runs in the bottom of the third, but the Bulldogs kept Rosewood tying the game or taking the lead in the top of the fourth.
And in the bottom of the fourth, Nelson’s home run gave the Bulldogs an 8-4 advantage. Princeton added four more runs in the bottom of the fifth, and suddenly the Bulldogs built up a 12-4 lead.
“I think Le’Onna’s home run woke us up a little bit, and I thought we played really well defensively,” Andrews said.
In the top of the seventh inning with one out, Meredith Wooten relived Massey, and Wooten secured the final two outs of the game to help the Bulldogs get the win.
Princeton (5-1 overall) travels to Union (1-4) on Wednesday, while Rosewood (4-2) hosts Hobbton today (0-4).