Carson High’s softball team is showing a flair for the dramatic — at least at home.
For the second consecutive home game, an underclassman came up with a walk-off hit to win the game for the Senators. Last week against McQueen, it was Bailey Allen’s double. This time it was sophomore Michelle Perry doing the damage.
Perry smacked a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to snap a 3-all tie and give Carson a 5-3 victory over North Valleys Tuesday afternoon in a Division I cross-over game.
After getting 10-runned by Damonte Ranch twice on Saturday, coach Shelby Tuttle was happy to see his young team bounce back.
“We responded well,” Tuttle said. “We have to keep efforting to hit the ball better; be more aggressive and confident at the plate.”
Carson managed just five hits off tough-luck loser Bailey Glover, two by Perry and one each by winning pitcher Jen Purcell, Elysse McGowan and Allen.
North Valleys, which never led, pushed the game to extra innings on a passed ball by Kandis Tuttle in the top of the seventh.
In the eighth, Purcell walked and was replaced on the basepaths by Skye Simpson. Tuttle moved Simpson to third with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Perry. On a 1-1 pitch, Perry crushed the ball well over the right-centerfield fence to even Carson’s record at 4-4 heading into Thursday’s home game against Reno (3:45 p.m.).
“It was right down the middle,” said Perry, who finished with three RBIs on the day. “I was just trying to hit the ball to the right side.”
The blow made a winner of Purcell, who scattered six hits and allowed just one earned run in going the distance. She struck out four and walked one, and even more importantly, made big pitches when she needed to.
“I thought Jen threw a good game,” Tuttle said. “A couple got away from her, but she’s improving everyday.”
“I thought it was great,” Purcell said. “Michelle stepped up when we needed her. Our defense was good. My curveball and change were working well. When I got into jams, I used the pitches where I could get the best result.”
Carson took a 2-0 lead in the second when Purcell walked. Simpson was brought in as a courtesy runner and stole second. She moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Perry’s bloop single just inside the right-field foul line. Perry ended up scoring the second run on a throwing error.
Purcell, who retired eight of the first nine she faced, gave up an unearned run in the second when her defense committed three errors behind her, two on the same play. The run scored on a wild pitch.
The Panthers tied the game in the sixth when Baylee Pennington ripped a flyball to right. Aubrey Northrup took two quick steps in only to helplessly watch the ball sail over her head for a double. Mikayla Christy re-entered as a pinch runner. She moved to third on a bunt single and scored on a line drive up the middle by Sara Stoddard. With runners at second and third, Purcell easily retired the next three hitters to end the rally.
Carson tied the game in the sixth, and lost a golden chance to do further damage.
Sara Brewer walked and advanced to second on a single by Ellyse McGowan. Purcell followed with a groundball to Courtney Serve, who misplayed it, allowing Brewer to score to make it 3-2. Tuttle walked to load the bases and Northrup forced out McGowan at the plate. Megan Goodale grounded back to the pitcher to end the inning.
North Valleys tied the game in the seventh, setting the stage for Perry’s game-winner in the eighth.