In a battle between two of the top teams in the Carolina 1A Conference, North Duplin emerged with 6-2 against Princeton on Thursday afternoon.
With the win, the Rebels (10-0 overall) remain undefeated and clinched their first conference title since 2015.
“We’re two games out ahead of everybody, so this game really clinched it,” North Duplin head coach Ricky Edwards said. “It’s good for the school and our community. The girls deserve it because they worked extremely hard.
“It’s big to be able to win the conference championship because Princeton and Rosewood are very good, and it could’ve gone either way.”
The Bulldogs (9-2) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Averie Daughtry’s two-RBI double brought in Logan Sutton and Le’Onna Nelson.
But the Rebels quickly responded in the top of the second when Skylar Craig hit a two-RBI single to tie the game 2-2.
In the top of the third inning, North Duplin took a 3-2 lead when a throwing error enabled Reece Outlaw to cross home plate.
“I thought we put the ball in play, and we were able to get some baserunners,” Edwards said. “We were able to score some, and Princeton hits the ball so well.”
Riley Hatch’s RBI single in the top of the fourth increased North Duplin’s lead to 4-2.
Both teams were unable to score any runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but in the top of the seventh, the Rebels put the finishing touches on their victory when they scored two more runs to take a 6-2 lead.
Princeton had one more opportunity to tie or win the game in the bottom of the seventh, but Callie Thornton and the Rebel’s defense held off the Bulldogs to get the win and the conference title.
“My pitcher, she did a fantastic job, and we made a lot of good defensive plays behind her too,” Edwards said. “We were fortunate enough to get some runs across the plate.
“I’m mighty tickled for the win and for the girls.”
Thanks to Thornton’s performance, the Bulldogs were unable to score any runs after the first inning.
Thornton pitched a complete game, gave up one earned run, four hits, and tossed four strikeouts.
“Callie did a fantastic job on the mound, and we were able to play good defense behind her and put the ball in play,” Edwards said.
The Rebels host Hobbton (0-7) on Monday for their regular-season finale, while Princeton travels to Lakewood (1-9) on Monday.