If there was a negative to come from last season, when the Bishop Carroll softball team won the Class 5A championship, it was being swept in the season-opener by Maize.
After Maize won Tuesday’s opener 7-5 and took a four-run lead after forcing extra innings in the second game by erasing a 6-1 deficit, history was poised to repeat itself at Two Rivers Youth Club. Carroll junior Clara Savage made sure it didn’t.
Savage was part of a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth to extend the game, then slapped a two-out triple and scored the winning run on a passed ball in the ninth to give Carroll its coveted victory, 12-11.
“I knew we could get back,” said Savage, who had four hits in game two. “We’re always head-to-head with (Maize). I just knew I had to hit the ball. I didn’t care where, it just had to be hard and far.”
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It concluded a game of wild swings that featured collapses by both teams.
Carroll led 6-1 after five innings, but Maize rallied for four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to tie the score at 7.
“I’m glad we didn’t give in,” Maize coach Jenny Meirowsky said. “It was nice to see that heart. It was a very stressful game, a lot for a coach to take in.”
Maize took full control on a bases-loaded inside-the-park home run by Kelsey Stewart, her second home run of the day, for an 11-7 lead in the eighth.
But defense betrayed the Eagles, committing two errors in the bottom of the inning to jumpstart the Carroll rally. Stewart, in as a relief pitcher, tried for a tag out at second base but her throw went into the outfield and allowed the tying run to score.
Carroll won when Savage scampered home for the winning run after pitcher Lauren Grimes’ pitch was too low for catcher Kate James.
“Our defense was terrible tonight,” Meirowsky said. “That’s definitely something we’re going to have to improve on before we play next. They did a great job of taking advantage of our errors and they deserved that second game.”
Maize scored six runs in the final three innings to win the first game. Peyton Jones and Tori Gloudeman each hit home runs the second game for Maize, while Carroll’s Hunter Hogan homered in the first game.
“We played together as a team,” Savage said,” and we won as a team in the end.”
1000222—7 11 1Carroll1200011—5 9 1
W — Grimes. L — Haffner. HR — Maize, Stewart; Carroll, Hogan.
000014240—11 15 4Carroll200041041—12 16 1
W — Haffner. L — Grimes. HR — Maize, Stewart, Jones, Gloudman.