MINDEN — The Douglas Tigers came out swinging and never stopped.
The Tigers scored three runs before fans had a chance to settle into their seats after the national anthem, and then added six more in the fourth en route to an easy 10-2 win over Carson Wednesday afternoon in a Division I softball game.
Douglas improved to 13-8, while Carson fell to 7-14 and 10-19-1 overall. The teams meet in Carson today in the regular-season finale.
Carson entered the series tied with McQueen and a game ahead of Wooster. However, the Colts picked up two forfeit wins over Hug and are now 8-14. It is Carson coach Shelby Tuttle’s understanding that Carson needs to win today to force a one-game playoff next week for the No. 8 spot with Wooster. The regional playoffs start Thursday morning at Bishop Manogue.
“We haven’t been (a fast starting team),” Douglas coach Rob Parks said. “We’ve played a lot of the harder teams in the second half of the season just like Carson has. It was good to get them going early see them get on base. They went up there confident and it showed.”
Becka Breuer started, but lasted just four hitters. She struck out Allison Meyer to start the inning, but gave up consecutive singles to Kelly Sonnemann and Corry Diaz plus a double just inside the third-base bag by Leona Mortimer, which scored Sonnemann. That was the end of Breuer’s day in the circle.
“She faced four batters and three hit the ball hard,” Tuttle said. “We went with our off-speed pitcher first and came in with Jen (Purcell). As you see, it didn’t really matter. They hit the ball well today all the way through the lineup.”
Winning pitcher Kali Sargent, the first hitter Purcell faced, singled home Diaz and Mortimer to make it 3-0. Purcell retired the next two hitters to end the inning.
Sargent, who retired nine of the first 10 batters she faced, allowed a run in the top of the fourth when Kandis Tuttle walked, moved to second on a Bailey Allen sacrifice bunt and scored on Michelle Perry’s deep double to centerfield.
Douglas answered with a vengeance in the bottom of the inning, scoring six times off Purcell to go up 9-1.
Katie Chieffo singled to center and Maddie Parks dropped down a bunt. Tuttle, who was trying to throw over the shoulder of Parks, airmailed the throw into right field. Chieffo scored on the play and Parks reached second base. Meyer singled to make it 5-1. A single by Sonnemann, a hit batter, a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly by Mortimer and a two-run single by Makayla Shaver made it 9-1. Douglas might have run-ruled Carson save for the fact that Shaver was thrown out at home trying to score on a wild pitch.
Douglas made it 10-1 in the fifth against Kaitlyn Jimmy. Meyer singled moved to second on a wild pick-off throw, stole third and scored on Mortimer’s single.
Carson’s final run came in the sixth when Purcell launched an opposite-field homer off Sargent, who finished with a four-hitter.
“She threw exactly what we expected,” Tuttle said. “She mixed her pitches well. She threw good off-speed and came in with the rise ball and we couldn’t lay off it. We have to have better bat control.”