Bishop Carroll softball coach Angie Dal Pozzo preaches focus. Focus on the little things. Focus on correcting mistakes. Focus at all times.
That focus was evident Tuesday night in a key doubleheader against Northwest at Two Rivers Youth Club. Carroll (16-2) swept Northwest 6-5, 7-4 to clinch a tie for the City League title.
"They played fantastic," Dal Pozzo said. "I couldn't ask for a better game out of the girls. They hit well, they played good defense, our pitchers buckled down and did fantastic even when they were in tight positions. I have to say I am 100 percent happy with the way we played. That's the way I know we can play."
Carroll has a doubleheader with South remaining in the City League, while Northwest (11-3) still plays North and East. Northwest won the league title the past two seasons. Carroll and Northwest have won or tied for the title since Kapaun won in 2003.
"It's great to finally get it done against them," said Carroll's Kelsey Jones, who homered in each game.
In Game 1, Carroll took a 4-1 lead in the third on a three-run homer by Jones.
"When Kelsey hit that one, it felt great," freshman pitcher Jessi Haffner said. "I didn't know how to respond to it, but it felt amazing."
Northwest answered in the sixth. Emily Henning led off the inning with a solo homer to center — her fourth — and Cassidy Harbert knocked in two with a single, tying the score at 4-4.
But in the seventh, Carroll's Hunter Hogan hit a liner to the right-field fence, turning it into a triple. She scored on a passed ball, and then Clara Savage, who had reached on an error, scored on a bad throw.
Northwest had a chance, though, when Alex Millspaugh opened the bottom of the seventh by reaching on a walk. She scored on Henning's double to get within one, but Katelynn Smith replaced Haffner at pitcher Smith struck out three of the next four batters.
"Katelynn and Jess work magic together," Dal Pozzo said.
In Game 2, Carroll scored three runs in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. After Hampton's triple — she scored on Colby Dresher's single — Hogan hit a two-run homer. Northwest got within one when Harbert knocked in two and another run scored on a Carroll error.
But the inning ended when Harbert was thrown out at home by Hogan.
Northwest had runners on second and third in the seventh, but failed to score. The Grizzlies left 10 bases runners in the second game, nine in the first.
Northwest coach Merri Copeland declined to comment after the game.
Carroll103 000 2 — 6 7 1 Northwest100 003 1 — 5 8 2
W—Haffner. L—Berlin. HR—Jones, Carroll; Henning, Northwest.
Carroll101 300 2 — 7 12 1 Northwest100 300 0 — 4 11 2
W—Smith. L—Henning. HR—Jones, Carroll; M. Millspaugh, Northwest.