Tigers close the book on Bullets|Win extra-inning thriller to advance

Published 6:28 pm Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sports Writer

JAMESVILLE — The last chapter in Jamesville sports history was written on Friday night, and while it had all the makings off a good finale, the hometown fans might want to ask for a rewrite.
The No. 1 seeded Bullets hosted second-seeded Williamston in the second round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs, pitting two schools that are set to merge with one another in a winner-takes-all showdown for bragging rights and playoff life.
On top of that, Tigers’ coach Damon Hayes is a Jamesville alum who played football for Jamesville football/softball coach Richie Ange.
The two teams have met five times before in the postseason with each contest coming down to the wire, and all of them ending in favor of Jamesville.
Friday’s matchup followed the same pattern as its preceding games as both teams took a 1-1 tie into extra innings. However, the Tigers were able to rally for four runs in the top of the eighth and close the book on the Bullets by handing them a 5-2 defeat.
Williamston will move on to play Pamlico, who beat Gates County 1-0 on Friday, at home on Tuesday in the third round.
After the game Hayes had mixed emotions about his team’s victory.
“It’s a big win, but it’s hard to talk about it,” Hayes said. “I’m proud of my team, but I have some feelings for Jamesville. I give them all the credit in the world, they played hard right to the end. … Each time we have played them in the playoffs it has been a 1-0 game or gone into extra innings or something. They have great athletes and a great coach, it’s just by chance I’m on top this time.”
Ange, who has coached softball at Jamesville for 18 years, said he knew Friday’s game would be a tough one.
“Jamesville-Williamston, especially in softball, has always been a battle,” Ange said. “You add in the school situation (merger) and the fact that one team is going to go out of here and not come back the way we know it … That adds pressure for both teams.”
In front of a packed house at Jamesville the pressure seemingly elevated with every inning that passed.
Hits were hard to come by as Tigers starter Harris Shepherd and Jamesville hurler Caroline Tetterton were both on top of their game.
Shepherd demonstrated excellent control as she scattered six hits in eight innings and struck out three batters while walking one.
Tetterton was just as effective as she held the Tigers to four hits, while fanning two and walking three, one of which was intentional.
Williamston (16-7) slugger Cassie Harrell got the Tigers on the board first when she smashed a Tetterton pitch over the head of the Bullets’ center fielder for an inside-the-park home run in the second inning.
Tetterton showed resiliency, and after Harrell’s blast she let up two hits the rest of the game.
Jamesville (18-2) countered in the fourth Ashley Mobley singled and was eventually brought home on a Paige Lilley sac fly.
As the innings passed, so did the intensity. Tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the eight, Jamesville appeared to succumb to the pressure first.
Tetterton started off the inning by walking Courtney Wynn, who was then pushed to second by a Dasia Moore sac bunt.
A Madison Brandon single allowed Wynn to advance to third. Brandon would take second on the outfielder’s throw to third.
With both runners in scoring position, Ange made the gutsiest call of the night when he opted to intentionally walk Williamston’s No. 3 hitter Heather Jackson who had been hitless all night, and load up the bases for Harrell the cleanup hitter. The move worked as Tetterton got Harrell to pop up to second for the first out of the inning.
The Bullets were not so lucky on the next play.
Shepherd stepped into the batter’s box and bounced a grounder to short, but the ball was bobbled and then thrown past the first baseman allowing Wynn and Brandon to score.
Jackson advanced to third and would later score on a past ball. Pinch runner Karly Stevens scored the final run when Jamesville botched the catcher-pitcher exchange to take a 5-1 lead.
The Bullets threatened in the bottom of the inning as Emily Griffen reached base on a Tigers’ error and so did Corey Ange.
Griffen would cross home plate on a Mobley sac fly, but the threat was ended when Shepherd got Haley Bowen to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play.
The final play was greeted with great emotion from both sides. In a heart-warming gesture, the Jamesville fans gave their players a long round of applause as they walked off the field.
“The fan support has been great here, I’m not surprised by that at all,” Ange said. “The fans have always backed us and supported our teams. They have always been like a 10th player for us.”
Williamston 010 000 04 — 5 4 2
Jamesville 000 100 01 — 2 6 5
WP: Harris Shepherd; LP: Caroline Tetterton
W — Dasia Moore 1-4, Madison Brandon 1-4 (R), Cassie Harrell 1-4 (HR, RBI), Kelly Drew 1-3; J — Emily Griffin 1-4 (R), Corey Ange 1-4, Ashley Mobley 1-3 (RBI), Haley Bowen 1-4, Joanna Askew 1-3, Victoria Rogers 1-3.