Allison Meyer and Corryne Diaz combined to deliver seven hits Thursday to help boost Douglas High School to a 7-2 Northern Division I regular season-ending softball victory at Carson.
Douglas (18-12-2 overall, 14-8 league) scored three runs in the third inning to erase a 2-0 deficit and then added four insurance runs in the fifth to spoil Carson’s Senior Day celebration on a cold and blustery afternoon. just as important, the Tigers end their regular season with a two-game winning streak and some momentum going into the Northern Division I Region Tournament.
“We had a stretch where we weren’t hitting the ball well, but now we’re hitting up and down the lineup,” said Douglas coach Rob Parks, whose Tigers had 13 hits on the day. “They’re in a groove going into the tournament, which is just the right time.”
Parks was unsure immediately after the game what seed the Tigers would have going into the playoffs — they wound up tied for fourth-place with Galena and Bishop Manogue — but he didn’t believe it would make much difference for the tournament, which begins Thursday morning at Manogue.
“It’s really not going to matter,” Parks said. “The first game out is going to be tough no matter who we play.”
On the other hand, Carson (10-20-1 overall, 7-15 league) finished out of the postseason picture at the end of a season that began on a promising note with a roster that featured eight seniors.
“We had higher expectations,” Carson coach Shelby Tuttle said. “Today was emotional — the last game always is — the girls came out ready to play, you have to give Douglas credit. They hit the ball very well.”
Meyer went 4-for-4 from the leadoff spot in the order and Diaz 3-for-4 from the No. 3 spot to lead the Tigers. Winning pitcher Kaitlyn Bowman helped her own cause with two hits and two RBI.
The Senators started out well enough when they took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Aubrey Northrup was hit by a pitch with one out, Malia Tiffer followed with a double off the center field fence and Rebecka Breuer drove both runners home when she singled to center.
Douglas answered in the top of the third, ignited by Bowman’s leadoff double into the left-center field gap. Katie Chieffo got aboard when her sacrifice bunt was misplayed for an error and Bowman scored moments later on a throwing error. Meyer hit a double to center field to drive Chieffo home with the tying run, Kelly Sonnemann lined a single to left and Diaz hit a grounder over second base for an RBI single that drove Meyer home with the go-ahead run.
There was a break in the action after four innings when Carson’s seniors were recognized during the Senior Day ceremony, however, the Tigers came back with a new wave of momentum in the fifth.
Meyer singled to lead off the rally, advanced to second when Diaz singled and Kali Sargent walked to load the bases with two outs. Next, Makayla Shaver bounced a two-run single past shortstop and Bowman lined a single into right field to drive two more runs home.
Bowman pitched solid through four innings, allowing two runs on three hits. The performance was a promising one for the sophomore, who has seen limited time in the pitcher’s circle since sustaining an injury at the outset of the season.
“Carson has some good hitters, but she did a good job mixing up her speeds and throwing strikes,” Parks said. “That was a solid outing, which was big because we are going to need her in the playoffs.”
Sargent finished up by pitching three scoreless inning, retiring nine of the 10 batters she faced. The lone base runner came on a single in the sixth inning on a single by Bailey Allen, who finished the game with two hits.
Carson showed some good defense in the first inning when Bailey Allen, Northrup and Breuer combined to turn a 4-6-3 double play.
“We had a good start. We had the lead, but then we had a couple of errors and that cost us,” Tuttle said, referring to the Tigers’ third inning rally.
“As it has been all year, we won as a team and we lost as a team. Today, we played hard, we just lost as a team.”