There must be something about a do-or-die situation that brings out the best in the N.C. Wesleyan softball team.
At the very least, it brought out the best in sophomore pitcher Jasmine Edgren on Friday.
With their backs against the wall, the Bishops remained alive for one more day in the USA South Tournament with a 7-1 victory against third-seed Averett at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex.
“In my opinion, we do best when we’re in the pressure zone,” Edgren said. “It just shows how well we can pull things together in a tight spot.”
Edgren allowed just two base runners – on a single and a dropped pop-up – through the first five innings, giving No. 7 N.C. Wesleyan (18-18) a chance to erase its offensive woes from earlier in the day.
Just a few hours after being one-hit in a shutout loss to No. 2 Huntingdon, the Bishops exploded for seven runs in the third and fourth innings combined.
In one inning, the Bishops helped themselves.
In the other, they took advantage of the mistakes made by Averett (25-12), which swept the Bishops during the regular season.
“To bounce back against a really good team like Averett, ... I think this says a lot about our kids,” N.C. Wesleyan coach John Brackett said. “We’ve got a good team, too.”
N.C. Wesleyan will face fourth-ranked Ferrum at 10 a.m. today in another elimination game at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the third inning, Averett pitcher Mary Beth Smith went wild.
On three pitches and no swings, the bases were cleared.
Two wild pitches and a passed ball put the Bishops ahead by three.
The very next inning, N.C. Wesleyan helped itself with a two-out, four-run rally, which was capped by Paige Pritchett’s two-RBI single to center field.
“We know what it takes to not back down and keep pushing even when we’re in tight spots,” said Bishops second baseman Carly Creef, who scored a run in both innings. “... We kind of know each other well and can push through sticky situations.”
Though behind Edgren, N.C. Wesleyan didn’t need many runs.
Edgren faced no more than four batters in each of the first five innings, and with everything on the line, Brackett said it was Edgren’s top performance on the season.
“That might be the best game she has thrown all year,” Brackett said. “When you factor in how important the game was – our backs against the wall in an elimination game – it made it even bigger. That might have been the best game she’s thrown all year factoring in everything and the offense that they have.”
Justin Hite can be reached at 407-9951 or firstname.lastname@example.org