Carthage Softball Pounds Pittsburg In Game 2 For Series Win
LONGVIEW — What a difference a night’s sleep or, as Friday’s walk-off hero Kaitlynn Earle put it, a bowl of great cereal can do for a team.
Carthage shelled Pittsburg, 9-0, Saturday at LeTourneau University in Game 2 of its Class 4A regional quarterfinal series for a series sweep. The Lady Dawgs had to claw back for a 12-11 win in Game 1, a meeting which featured four multiple-run lead changes.
In retrospect, it only took two at-bats for Carthage to earn its decisive win.
Kayman Courtney led the game off with a base hit down the left foul line and two-hole hitter Chelcie Pierce hit an RBI double the next pitch. Sophomore starting pitcher Taylor Wills shortly thereafter began a one-hit shutout performance.
“As proud as I was last night, and I really was proud, I had to talk to them,” Lady Dawgs coach Matt Folmar said. “That team over there last week played Bullard, lost their first game and came back to win the last two games on Saturday. I knew they were capable of doing that if you let them hang around.
“I really stressed to them last night and then again this morning, ‘We need to put a crooked number on the board in the first inning and put the pressure on them.'”
Carthage (28-6-2) got its way in that regard with two runs before Pittsburg (15-9-1) even got a chance in the batter’s box.
The Lady Dawgs also seemed to get their way in the uncontrollable breaks department.
Pittsburg yanked starting pitcher Bailey Smith after nine throws for three hits and two runs for a reliever that went 4 2/3 innings the night before only to go back to Smith in the fourth after a five-spot.
Additionally, a Lady Pirates run in the fifth was wiped off the board after a fair-or-foul debate along the third base line.
But the biggest storyline was Wills, who exited Friday’s game on the hook for a loss after 2 1/3 innings. She took a perfect game into the fifth Saturday and never allowed a Lady Pirate beyond second base.
Pittsburg ultimately got two players to second base. Never before going down 7-0.
The first occurrence was on a fielding error just after Sydnee Reynolds broke up the perfecto. The second occurrence happened as Wills searched for the series-clinching out in the bottom of the seventh via a hit-by-pitch and a four-pitch walk while eclipsing 70 throws.
“I just thought I had to reset and put it all behind me,” Wills said. “You have to focus on what’s in front of you. Softball is about what’s in the future and not what’s happened the past night or past play. You just have to focus on what’s in front of you.”
While Pierce drove in the game-winning run on a double with the second at-bat of the game, the inkling it wasn’t going to be Pittsburg’s day began the next at-bat when Carson Robertson doubled to score Pierce and persuaded the Lady Pirates to change pitchers.
A lead off walk in the fourth and an error the next at-bat started the tailspin.
Nine-hole hitter Addison Blissett loaded the bases with one out on accidental contact and a ball that landed right between the pitcher and catcher for no play.
Back at the top of the order, Courtney drove in two runs with a shot to center field on a 1-2 count. A throwing error on what should have been an easy ground out by Pierce from the circle to first base allowed Blissett in for a score. Carson Robertson then hit her second double to plate Courtney and Pierce for the 7-0 advantage.
The top of the order contributed to scoring a third time in four appearances the sixth frame.
Courtney doubled, Pierce hit an RBI single and advanced to third on a relay throw and error. Robertson then drove in Pierce with a fly ball to center field.
Carthage will take on Aubrey in the regional semifinal round. Aubrey won two games Saturday to upset a favored Crandall squad.
While times and dates have not been finalized, the games between the Lady Dawgs and Aubrey will take place in Grand Saline.
“We’re just happy to be there,” Folmar said. “We had a coach at that series today and one there last night. We’ll sit down and talk, but right now we’re just excited to be in the fourth round.”
Carthage 9, Pittsburg 0
Game 2, Class 4A Regional Quarterfinals
At LeTourneau University, Longview
Carthage 200 502 0 — 9 9 1
Pittsburg 000 000 0 — 0 1 4
Pitchers and catchers
- Pittsburg: Bailey Smith, Kaycee Parker (1), Smith (4) and Madison Samson
- Carthage: Taylor Wills and Hope Kruebbe
WP — Wills
LP — Smith