SILER CITY — The appearance of the Beddingfield High softball team in the playoffs for the eighth straight year ended in the second round Saturday night with a 5-1 loss to Mid-State Conference champion and No. 1-seeded Jordan-Matthews in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs.
Despite an 18-4 record and a share of the Eastern Plains Conference championship, the Lady Bruins, seeded No. 17, failed to advance into the fourth round for the first time since 2012. Jordan-Matthews, with a 23-1 record, welcomes North Johnston, also a tri-champion from the Eastern Plains, in the third round Tuesday night.
“They don’t make mistakes,” Beddingfield head coach Jeremy Howard said of the Lady Jets. “They remind me a lot of North Johnston. Playing them will be like flipping a coin.”
Beddingfield grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Cassie Dail led off with a sharp single between first and second base. With one out, senior Leah Warren sacrifice bunted Dail to second base. Junior Savannah Pierce drilled a single up the middle to drive in Dail.
Dail and Pierce each collected two hits, while senior Allison Pate and junior Lindsey Godwin added one each.
Jordan-Matthews managed just six hits against Lady Bruins sophomore right-hander Briana Hale (8-2). But the Lady Jets benefited from a double resulting from a fly ball lost in the sun and an inside-the-park home run when the Lady Bruins right fielder’s attempt at a diving catch was unsuccessful.
The two-run homer in the third staked the Lady Jets to a 3-1 lead and they padded the margin with two runs in the fifth.
“The game could have gone either way,” Howard contended. “It was a matter of 6-8 inches that didn’t go our way and 6-8 inches that went their way. The hits were tit-for-tat.
“I told the girls: ‘Don’t think lightly of what your accomplished.’ It’s weird when you’re 18-4 and feel like you were short of the goals you wanted to accomplish. We had a lot of youth on the field and they have a lot to be proud of. We dealt with a lot of adversity and the girls had to re-invent themselves during the year.”
Beddingfield careers ended for only two seniors — Pate and Warren.
“We got a good look at what the future holds,” Howard declared. “The girls will be motivated and ready to go next year.”
Score by innings:
Beddingfield 100 000 0 — 1
Jordan-Matthews 012 020 0 — 5
WP-Holly Clark 7 IP 6 H 1 R 1 ER 1 BB 8 SO. LP-Briana Hale (8-2) 6 H 5 R 5 ER 0 BB 3 SO.