Carthage ends Lady Pirates’ season at regional quarterfinals

By Dannie Oliveaux |

LONGVIEW – After mustering 13 hits in a 12-11 loss on May 12, the Pittsburg Lady Pirates could only come up with one hit the next day as the Carthage Lady Bulldogs advanced to the Class 4A Region 2 semifinals with a 9-0 shutout at Pine Tree Field.
Carthage pitcher Taylor Willis struck out three and walked one in the seven-inning one-hitter.
At the bat, the Lady Bulldogs (29-6-2) scored two in the top of the first, added five in the fourth and closed the scoring with a pair in the sixth.
Back-to-back doubles by Chelcie Pierce and Carson Robertson with no outs gave Carthage a 2-0 margin in the first.
In the fourth with one out, Kayman Courtney delivered a 2-run single, then
Robertson hammered a fly ball to center field for two more runs and Addison Blissett scored on one of four Lady Pirate errors.
In the fifth, Sydney Reynolds recorded Pittsburg’s only hit with a line-drive single to left with no outs. Tori Henderson reached first base on a Carthage error as Henderson moved to second.
But Madison Sansom flied out to right and Bailey Smith lined out to short before Willis struck out Abbey Hammonds.
In the sixth, Pierce hit a one-run single to left, then later scored on Robertson’s sacrifice fly to center.
In the seventh, Henderson got on base after being hit by a Willis pitch with two outs. Sansom walked before the game ended with Smith flying out to center.
For the Lady Pirates, Smith took the loss in the circle. She allowed four hits and fanned five in three and two-third innings. Kaycee Parker gave up five hits, struck out five and walked two in relief.
“I’m truly amazed at how these young girls are able to give their all and stay fully focused week after week under pressure,” said Pittsburg head coach Brandi Batchelor. “I am truly blessed to have such amazing talent mixed with leadership qualities from each kid. Hopefully they learned something from me because they taught me something every single day.”
In the first game, both teams put on a slugfest as they combined for 26 hits as the Lady Bulldogs scored a one-run win, 12-11.
Carthage scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh with two out as Robertson reached home on a single by Kaitlynn Earle.
The Lady Pirates jumped out to a 5-0 lead with two in the top of the first, then added three in the second.
Henderson singled home McKenna Wood and Parker with two outs.
Smith blasted a solo homer to start off the second, then Wood added a 2-run shot of her own over center field for a 5-0 margin.
The Lady Bulldogs closed the gap by one in the third – thanks to a 2-run homer by Courtney and two runs off back-to-back sacrifice fly balls.
Carthage took an 8-5 lead in the fourth with the help of a Pierce 2-run homer and two runs walked home by Smith.
Bu the lead didn’t last long. The Lady Pirates rallied for five runs in the fifth. Sansom singled home Reynolds, the Sansom and Bailey reached home on a Hammonds’ ground-ball double to center to deadlock the game, 8-8.
Sadie Waldrep scored on a Sydney Waldrep hit, then Sydney Waldrep raced home on a wild pitch.
In the sixth, Smith’s single to center brought Reynolds home for an 11-8 advantage.
Carthage tied the game at 11 on a Pittsburg error and Blissett’s 2-run line-dive single to left with two outs.
At the plate, Smith finished with three hit and a pair of RBIs, while Wood (2 RBIs) and Reynolds had two hits each.
Hope Kruebbe (RBI) and Roberson had three hits each to pace the Lady Bulldogs.
In the circle, Pierce earned the win as she gave up six hits, fanned three and walked a pair in the final four and two-thirds innings.
Parker took the loss for Pittsburg. She allowed eight hits, walked five and struck out five in four and two-thirds innings of work.
Batchelor has a good chance of being back in the race for a berth in the state tournament next season.
“We fought hard, had a wonderful journey and we will be returning six starters next year,” Batchelor said. “Although the seniors will leave with a piece of my heart I look forward to the future of Pittsburg softball. It is very promising.”

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