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The rain didn’t stay away long enough, but the errors, walks, hit batters, wild pitches and passed balls overstayed on the Beddingfield High softball diamond Friday night.
Despite 12 walks, four hit batters and nine errors, Beddingfield, limited to six hits, emerged with a sloppy 13-9 2-A Eastern Plains Conference victory against Nash Central.
The second win of the week against the Lady Bulldogs vaulted young Beddingfield to 4-2 in the conference and 9-5 overall.
Nash Central, which managed but two hits and contributed eight passed balls and 10 walks, plunged to 2-4 in the EPC and to 4-6 against all foes.
Not a senior saw action for either team. Beddingfield’s only senior, Karissa Hayes, was not available because of dental surgery. And with starter Alexis Hayes stepping away from softball earlier in the week, the Lady Bruins are down to 10 players.
A light rain — that became steady — began falling in the third inning.
Beddingfield never trailed after a five-run spree in the bottom of the first, but the Lady Bulldogs rallied to a 6-6 tie in the top of the fourth. Stranded base runners totaled 20.
“With the weather like that, you take what you can get,” commented Beddingfield head coach Jeremy Howard. “In those conditions, you knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. At the end of the day, you just want to have more runs than they do. We gutted it out and found a way.”
Sophomore left fielder Annie Greene’s timely hit enabled the Lady Bruins to snap the 6-6 standoff in the bottom of the fourth. Her single to right field drove in the go-ahead run and, before the play ended, three Lady Bruins (including Greene) had scored with the aid of two Nash Central throwing miscues.
Greene acknowledged the hit was the biggest thrill of her Lady Bruins softball career.
“A lucky shot,” she said. “I just wanted to make contact and run as fast as I could.”
Following the play, Nash Central players huddled in the pitchers’ circle with head coach Laura McGrath and were soon laughing.
“We try to keep it positive,” McGrath reasoned. “To go out there and ream them out does no good. It sucks, but we try to be upbeat and move on.”
Nash Central cut the deficit to 9-8 with two runs in the top of the fifth — when sophomore right-hander Neleh Bottoms, Beddingfield’s starter, returned to the circle to relieve freshman Abby Edmundson. The two right-handers combined to throw 148 pitches.
Without a hit, Beddingfield answered with two runs in its half of the fifth, stretching its lead to 11-8. Two wild pitches, a walk and a hit batsman enabled the Lady Bulldogs to cut the deficit to 11-9 in the sixth.
But the Lady Bruins retaliated with two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
With the emphasis upon throwing strikes, Bottoms, who walked nine in five innings, limited her seventh-inning repertoire to change-ups. She kept Nash Central off the scoreboard for just the second inning.
“She made a good adjustment,” Howard said of Bottoms, who noted she could not grip the wet softball. “Our pitcher knew she needed to get it across the plate and let the defense make plays. We got two great plays (catches by left fielder Greene and freshman right fielder Ashlyn Walker.
“The visibility was so bad,” Greene complained, “but I made sure my feet were steady and I was able to make the catch.”
The only hit in Beddingfield’s five-run first was Bottoms’ double. Sophomore left-handed shortstop Brittany Dudley rapped an RBI double in the sixth.
“We proved that we are better than expectations,” Greene declared. “We are a team that works hard to get it done.”
Assessed Nash Central’s McGrath: “We played pretty well. “I wish we could have pulled out the win, but I am proud of the effort.”
However, Beddingfield’s Bottoms offered the appropriate summation in the steady rain. “Fastpitch became slowpitch,” she contended.
Score by innings:
Nash Central 201 321 0 — 9
Beddingfield 510 322 x — 13
WP-Neleh Bottoms 5 IP, 1 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 9 BB, 6 SO. LP-Cana Shrock.
LEADING HITTERS — Nash Central: Jessica Sohn 1-2, 2 R, RBI; Zhaterria Cherry 1-2, RBI; Beddingfield: Neleh Bottoms 1-2, 2B, 3 R; Brittany Dudley 1-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI; Ashlyn Walker 1-4, Hannah Sangster 1-3, Annie Greene 1-3, RBI; Brilyn Honeycutt 1-2.