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Princeton’s Massey silences Rosewood in road conference win

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GOLDSBORO — The Princeton High varsity softball team got a strong performance from sophomore pitcher Graclyn Massey to defeat archrival Rosewood 5-2 on the road April 3 to pick up a major win in pursuit of the 1-A Carolina Conference championship.

Massey pitched seven innings, allowing two hits, two runs, one unearned and one walk for the win. The sophomore also struck out eight. The Lady Eagles (8-4, 4-1 CC) came into the game averaging 10 runs a game.

“My spins, my curves and my screwball were really on tonight so that helped a lot,” Massey said. “It gives us an advantage in the conference and it makes us more at ease playing against other teams.”

The Lady Bulldogs (6-2, 3-1 CC) were on a five-game losing streak before losing to North Duplin, 3-1, on March 29. With Rosewood having beaten North Duplin (4-2, 3-1 CC), Princeton knew winning this game was bigger than the rivalry game because winning the conference is the only guaranteed playoff entry with the seven-team league having two schools that are not fielding a softball team this season.

“Keep playing the games one at a time and keep working because it ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” Princeton first-year head coach Don Andrews said. “We play Rosewood in the last game of the year, but that’s a long way away. I haven’t been around that long but the rivalry with Rosewood is obviously a big one and we just played well tonight.”

Princeton got a big lift from sophomore catcher Reanna Braswell who hit a two-run home run in the second inning to put her team up, 3-0. Andrews also credited Braswell for the way she called pitches.

The Lady Bulldogs tacked on an insurance run in the fifth and sixth. Macy Motes set up the run in the fifth with a leadoff triple and was brought home by Miller Morgan’s groundout.

Massey said the run support made it easy for her to relax on the mound after giving up a sixth inning homer to Laine Marak. Massey retired the Lady Eagles in order in the bottom of the seventh including two strikeouts.

Score by innings:

Princeton 120 011 0 — 5

Rosewood 010 001 0 — 2

WP-Graclyn Massey 7 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, BB, 8 SO. LP-Kaitlyn Kincaid 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO.

LEADING HITTERS — Princeton: Reanna Braswell 1-3, HR, 2 RBIs; Macy Motes 1-3, 3B. Rosewood: Brittney Butts 1-2, 2B; Laine Marak 1-3, HR, RBI.