Mercedes Hargett not only pitched a gem, but she came through with a clutch RBI in the seventh inning to lead the Havelock Rams to a 2-1 victory over host New Bern Friday.
The Rams trailed 1-0 in the seventh when Laneisha Nolan reached on an error.
Two batters later, Sam Howell singled and advanced Nolan to third base. Malorie Rowe then walked to load the bases before Hargett smacked a deep, run-scoring sacrifice fly to left field — driving in the game-tying run.
Havelock’s next batter, Taylor Forehand, ripped a double down the third-base line to score Howell with the eventual winner.
“We were in a 1-0 game, and came back,” Havelock coach Anna Spear said. “It was a pitcher’s duel all night. We both tried to play a short game, and we kept our composure.”
Hargett, who pitched all seven innings, got New Bern out in order in the Bears’ final at bat to preserve the victory. She struck out 12, giving up five hits and a walk.
“I was real pleased with Mercedes,” Spear said. “I’m really pleased with the early part of the year with having a new group playing together.”
The Rams stranded nine runners on base – two each in the first, fourth and seventh innings.
New Bern broke the scoring drought with a run in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Lexi Smith singled off the glove of Hargett, bringing home Loghan Tiger, who pinch-ran for pitcher Kristen Daughtridge.
The Bears opened the inning with a triple by Taylor Niemotka. She tried to score on a ground ball, but was thrown out for the first out of the inning.
New Bern (4-1) stranded two runners on base in the fourth.
“There were strikeouts that shouldn’t have happened and there were runners left on base and that’s what we are going to continue to work on,” said New Bern coach Sara Harrison.
Daughtridge tossed seven innings, striking out 10 and giving up seven hits.
“Our pitching was awesome,” Harrison said. “She couldn’t have done a better job. I couldn’t have asked more from her.”
Havelock (2-0) was led at the plate by Howell and Emily Bowman’s two singles. Forehand, Hargett and Brittany Gray contributed hits.
Smith, Kiera Carpenter, Niemotka, Daughtridge and Lyons had base hits for the Bears.
Havelock is scheduled to open Coastal 3A Conference play at home Tuesday against D.H. Conley, with the junior varsity starting at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity to follow.