Tigers collar Bulldogs in softball playoffs|Will play Jamesville in second round

Published 5:56 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sports Writer

WILLIAMSTON — A hot start by Williamston was just enough to ice a 7-5 victory over Dixon in the first round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs on Wednesday.
The second-seeded Tigers (15-7, Four Rivers), led by a solid performance by the top portion of their lineup, were able to pounce on the No. 3 seeded Bulldogs (13-11, Coastal Plains) early and built up just enough run support to hold off a late rally by Dixon.
The win sets up a fantastic second-round matchup as Williamston will travel to No. 1 Jamesville (18-1) on Friday in a fight for playoff life and bragging rights before the two schools merge next school year.
Williamston coach Damon Hayes said Friday’s contest between the two intense, yet friendly rivals will be a good one.
“(Jamesville coach) Richie Ange used to coach me in football when I was in high school, he is a great guy and a great coach,” Hayes said. “I know some of those girls too, they are good players. I think I’m 0-5 against them. … I think there might be some added pressure for both teams, but it will be a good game.”
If Hayes is going to snap his winless streak against the Bullets he is going to need the Tigers team that played the first four innings to show up, instead of the one that played the last three.
“I think the girls played good, but I think at times routine plays bothered us,” Hayes said of his team which committed three errors. “The difference between a good team and a great team is that a great team makes all the routine plays. … It’s the playoffs and we are going to have to make all the routine plays.”
Williamston’s sluggers came out swinging early and got to Dixon starter Corbin Bruton for three quick runs in the bottom of the first.
Heather Jackson got the rally started with a two-out single, which was followed up by a Cassie Harrell base hit.
Jackson scored the first run of the game when Harris Shepherd bounced a grounder to the left side of the infield, which was fielded by the shortstop who over-threw the ball to first base. An alert Harrell scored all the way from first on the same play, sliding leg-first ahead of the tag and through a bat that was not cleared away by the homeplate umpire.
Kellen Edwards brought in the third run when she blooped a single that allowed Shepherd to score and take a 3-0 lead into the second.
Williamston added another run in the third thanks to another run-scoring single by Edwards, and three runs in the fourth when Brandon, Jackson and Harrell hit consecutive RBI singles.
Holding a 7-0 lead, Shepherd looked solid on the mound and kept racking up outs all the way up until the top of the fifth.
It was that inning when the Bulldogs started to catch a bit of luck and some Shepherd pitches.
The Tigers committed two costly errors, one of which allowed a run to score, and both of which helped set up Amy Beckett for an RBI single and Ariyan Davis for a two-run double to cut the deficit to 7-4.
The inning would have lasted longer except Moore, the center fielder, had gunned down a Dixon’s Tab Bailey at the plate after Bailey had failed to touch home.
The Bulldogs threatened again in the top of the seventh, but could only muster one run.
Dixon 000 040 1 — 5 6 3
Williamston 301 300 X — 7 11 3
WP: Harris Shepherd; LP: Corbin Bruton
D – Amy Beckett 1-4 (RBI, R), Ariyan Davis 1-3 (2 B, 2 RBI), Tab Bailey 2-3, Madison Davis 1-3, Alyssa Aquafredda 1-3; W – Dasia Moore 2-4, Madison Brandon 2-4 (RBI, R), Heather Jackson 3-4 (RBI, 2 R), Kellen Edwards 2-3 (2 RBI).