NASHVILLE – After settling one score, Nash Central was mindful that it evened another.
The Bulldogs weren’t pleased that Southern Nash took pictures of the scoreboard – which coincidentally ended up online – following the Ladybirds’ two-run victory against the Bulldogs on April 12.
Following the Bulldogs’ 6-3 win against the Ladybirds in the Big East Conference championship on Thursday at J.W. Glover Park, Nash Central’s coaches and players posed for a picture in front of the scoreboard.
“It’s all in good competition,” Nash Central coach Gary Smith said. “These girls all know each other and are friends, but we still wanted to get them back.”
Behind a complete-game effort from Lindsey Sharpe, the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead in the season series, with a possible playoffs rematch looming.
The Bulldogs’ victory gave them a No. 1 seed in the NCHSAA 3-A playoffs, where they play Erwin Triton or Cleveland.
Southern Nash coach Christy Bailey-Reams said the Ladybirds “absolutely” want another shot at the Bulldogs.
“All three of the games between us have been well-played games,” she said. “We’d have to play them in the fourth round, so just having two area teams that far would be good.”
Sharpe struck out nine and allowed two earned runs for Nash Central, which gave her a three-run lead before she stepped on the mound.
Caley Bass recorded an infield hit, then a two-base error put her on third base.
Sharpe plated Bass with a groundout, but Lesley Murray and Brittani Strickland helped jump-start a two-out rally by drawing walks.
Rachel Pearce started what would be a big day at the plate (3-for-4, three RBI) with a two-RBI double to right-center field to give Nash Central a three-run lead.
“It was right down the middle, so I just took a chance on it, and it ended up as a double,” Pearce said.
Sharpe said she didn’t want the lead to go to her head.
“We didn’t want to ease up at all,” she said. “I just thought about pitching good and making outs.”
Left fielder and lead-off hitter Madison Bell was the only Ladybird to cross the plate against Sharpe. Bell went 3-for-4, doubled twice and scored a run in the third, fifth and seventh innings.
She was knocked in by No. 2 hitter Takiera Thompson all three times.
The rest of the Ladybirds’ lineup went a combined 2-for-19.
“We’d seen her before and hit her before,” Bailey-Reams said. “She didn’t really do anything different that we hadn’t seen.”
After committing seven errors in the April 12 game, the Bulldogs wanted to improve. They even had a laminated copy of the Telegram’s story from the following day in the dugout to remind them.
Nash Central committed two errors Thursday, and held at least a two-run lead after their first at-bat.
“We didn’t want to play like we did last time,” Smith said. “We knew player-for-player, we were the better team.”
Nick Piotrowicz can be reached at 407-9952 or npiotrowicz@ rmtelegram.com.