The string of blowouts should be finished for Carroll’s softball team. Now, it’s about surviving and advancing.
Instead of feeling the pressure, the Lady Dragons (18-5) applied the pressure in their Class 6A Region I bi-district one-game playoff against Cedar Hill. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead en route to a 13-7 victory.
Carroll advanced to the area round where it opposes Lewisville in what is hoped to be a best-of-three series. Locations have not been settled but the series is scheduled for Thursday and Friday with a potential deciding third game on Saturday.
However, the forecast inclement weather could play a role in the length of the series. That’s why head coach Tim Stuewe had not finalized location plans until late Monday. See www.dfwvarsity.com for updates.
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“For us, we kept into our routine, and I think that meant a lot to the way we approached last week and the playoff,” Stuewe said. “Our offense and pitching did very well against Cedar Hill. We missed some things defensively and gave them some extra outs. But we swung the bat well against a scrappy and very athletic bunch.”
As for the pitching rotation, that’s really going to be a matter of matchups, Stuewe said. Senior Jessica Tunink and junior Cami Green each pitched against the Lady Longhorns. Nothing should really change in this series. Both should see time. Against Cedar Hill, Green started but Tunink pitched the final two innings to seal the victory.
“It’s almost better than when you have two that are pretty similar than a true No. 1,” Stuewe said. “We have co-No. 1 pitchers.”
Offensively against Cedar Hill, junior Christina Hill had three hits and collected three RBIs, while junior Emilia Egel also had three hits. The lineup only had one strikeout.
Against Lewisville, that should be a little different. Junior Maribeth Gorsuch is one of the top pitchers in the area. She led Lewisville to the 2013 Class 5A state championship. Gorsuch was named to the all-tournament team and will be the best pitcher Carroll has seen since the non-district season.
“Lewisville is a very strong team,” Stuewe said. “This is going to be a very big test for us. We just can’t help [Gorsuch] out by chasing pitches. We have to get quality at bats. That’s the key. If we’re up there swinging and striking out, that’s not going to help. If we’re putting the ball in play, some positive things can happen.”
The winner faces the winner of Denton Guyer-South Grand Prairie in the Region I quarterfinals.
A perfect season
Carroll did complete a perfect District 7-6A 12-0 season with a 7-5 victory over Hurst L.D. Bell on April 28. Weather forced the two teams to play the game in Kennedale. Courtney Manning delivered a home run. Carroll won the game in the bottom of the ninth.
While Carroll had won eight of its first nine district game via the run rule, the Lady Dragons won their last three in a more conventional manner. In fact, they won two of their final three games in their last at bat.
“That gives a sense of what these playoff games are going to be like and we have to keep staying ready,” Stuewe said. “It’s very important.”
Carroll third baseman Gretchen Morgan has signed with Nicholls State.