With two Carson High School softball regulars sidelined by injuries, Kaylee Risi and Melissa Stone were pressed into service on Tuesday.
Both responded big time.
Risi played errorless ball at second base and delivered an RBI double in the third inning, and Stone made the run stand with a four-hit pitching performance as the Senators slipped past Douglas 1-0 in a Northern 4A contest that took 90 minutes to play.
Stone worked out of jams in three different innings, retiring the side each time with runners on third base, to prevail in a duel against Douglas ace Tarrah Kizer. Stone (4-1) pitched when scheduled starter Nicole Freeman developed a sore back, according to coach John Sullivan.
"We threw Melissa pretty hard in practice yesterday because we expected Nicole to pitch today, but it didn't work out that way," Sullivan said. "Melissa threw really well. Her riseball was really hopping up there."
Especially in the seventh inning, when the senior right-hander went to her riser and rang up back-to-back strikeouts to end the game with the potential game-tying run standing on third.
"I didn't throw the riseball much last year, but I've been working on it and I'm getting more confident in it," said Stone, who struck out eight and walked one. "There was a lot of stress because this was a game we needed to win, but I knew I could do it. Not only for me, but for the team."
The Senators, who had lost four of their last six games, improved their conference record to 8-4. Douglas slipped to 5-3.
"It was a really good game," Douglas coach Ken Carr said. "It came down to who blinked first, and we blinked. I was still really proud of the way our kids played, because we got great pitching and defense. We just couldn't rub a couple of hits together, and you can't win a game when you don't score."
Kizer, a freshman right-hander, struck out the next two batters to retire the side without any further damage. She also escaped from a sixth-inning jam on a comebacker and strikeout to leave runners stranded on second and third. Kizer doubled off the base of the left field wall to open the seventh and moved over to third on Cheryl Nicoll's sacrifice bunt.
"Tarrah played a lot of summer ball so she's very experienced for a freshman, she just doesn't have a lot of varsity innings under her belt," Carr said of Kizer, who struck out 10 and walked one. "She has good speed, she can hit her spots and she doesn't get rattled."
Carson's only run came in the third inning when Risi - starting her first game of the season because senior Brandi Cotroneo broke a finger on her throwing hand playing against McQueen this past Saturday - roped a one-out line drive past third base to bring Lindsey Perondi home from second. Vicki Parsons reached on an infield hit to lead off then was forced on Perondi's bunt. Perondi stole second to set the stage for Risi.
"I really didn't like the pitch," Risi said. "I was just protecting because I had two strikes on me."
Douglas had other opportunities to score. Michelle Roza tripled with two outs in the first, but Stone retired the side on a strike. Hillary Moreira doubled with one out in the fourth, but was left stranded when the next two Tigers flied out.
"It was a great ballgame," said Sullivan, whose club visits Galena on Thursday. "No errors, we got some big hits, we got some pitching and there was lots of excitement."