FRANKFORT — Call it good fortune, mishap or whatever. But fate can be ugly as well as impartial with everything on the line.
Carroll’s softball squad stared a gift horse in the mouth here Saturday afternoon in the Class A Clinton Prairie Semistate’s opening semifinal game and walked away with an unearned run and a 1-0 victory over Hoosier Heartland Conference rival Tri-Central.
It was a classic pitching battle. Base hits were at a premium, opportunities were scarce and it took a freakish turn of events to decide a do-or-die bout between two well-acquainted rivals.
Carroll managed just four hits with eight baserunners in 29 at-bats while TC went hitless in a mere 23 at-bats and had just three reach base.
A dropped foul popup off the bat of Cougar leadoff hitter Carly Kingery in the first inning proved fatal to TC. Following the miscue, Kingery singled on the next pitch, moved up on a wild pitch and passed ball, and scored on Libby Eller’s sacrifice bunt down the third base line.
But the difference in this contest was vividly clear — the pitching circle efforts of junior southpaw starter Courtney Atkisson, Carroll’s No. 2 flinger who worked three no-hit innings, whiffing five on 43 pitches (29 strikes) and junior Kingery, the Cougar ace who came on in the fourth to complete the no-hitter by retiring the final 12 Trojans on 42 pitches (36 strikes) including nine strikeouts.
As to the game’s lone run, TC hurler Shelby Ramsey and first baseman Cecelia Rayl converged on the Kingery’s foul popup, and the ball slipped off Rayl’s glove to keep her alive. Third baseman Haley Farris fielded Eller’s bunt, but threw to first for the out as Kingery scored.
Ramsey fanned the next batter and pitched well enough to win, fanning 11 and walking three while giving up just four hits on 114 total pitches (72 strikes). She worked out of jams in each the fourth, fifth and seventh innings, stranding seven runners overall. But TC had no answer to the dominant mound performances of the Cougars’ hurlers.