Senators break out bats to defeat Grizzlies in elimination game
Kaylee Risi and the rest of the Carson High School softball teammates simply weren’t ready to see their season end on their home field Thursday afternoon.
Risi, the only senior on Carson’s roster, hit 4-for-4 to lead a 14-hit assault that led to a come-from-behind 10-5 victory against old nemesis Galena in an elimination game at the Northern 4A Regional Tournament.
Carson fell into the losers bracket with a 9-3 loss against Reed earlier in the day, and then the Senators found themselves backed up against a wall when Galena took a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the elimination game. However, the Senators answered with three runs in the top of the second and exploded to score six runs in the third to break the game open.
“I’m just glad we have another game. We deserve it. We’ve worked hard for it,” Risi said. “I was scared this might be my last game so I was playing the best I could.”
Bethany Henry singled to lead off Carson’s second inning rally, advanced to second on Lindsay Farnworth’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Risi’s single to right. Then with two outs, Katie Vidovich blasted a two-run homer over the center field fence to cut Galena’s lead to 4-3.
“I was shocked. That was my first ever over the fence, so I didn’t know what to think,” the junior right fielder said. “Everybody got pumped up after that because we knew we were going to win.”
It was a big hit against Galena ace Jenn Molinari, a three-time all-conference pitcher.
“You know, I don’t think we had beaten Molinari in four years,” Carson coach John Sullivan. “I think that hit showed the girls they could stand up there and swing the bat.”
The Senators kept on swinging in the third. Brittany Puzey drilled a double into the gap in right-center to lead off the inning and came home to tie the score on Baylee Biber’s ground ball. Kayla Dunn singled to center, Henry drove in one run with a single up the middle and Lindsay Farnworth’s fly ball fell down the right field line for a two-run double. Risi added another single and Talia Joyce delivered an RBI single to finish off the inning.
That was more than enough support for Puzey, who pitched a complete game seven-hitter to earn the win. The freshman struck out 10 and walked one.
Brittney Ross singled two runs home and freshman Alicia Kraft added an RBI single in Galena’s four-run first. Teresa Miller homered over the left field fence to lead off the fifth and account for one more run.
Henry hit 3-for-4, Dunn 2-for-4 and Farnworth 2-for-3 with three RBIs for Carson. Biber also went 3-for-4 in the first-round loss, a game in which the Senators collected nine hits against Reed’s hard-throwing Whitney Smith.
The Senators play again today at 2 p.m. against the loser of a winners bracket game between Wooster and McQueen.
“We really played up today. I was proud of my whole team,” Risi said. “I hope we play this good tomorrow. I think we’re going to come out and give it our best. I’m hoping I can end with a good one. “