The season hasn’t gone quite as well as the Saints had hoped it would. But the Carroll College softball team can still reach the Cascade Conference Tournament. It will, however, require some of the best play of the season.
So far, so good.
Entering the final weekend of the regular season in a tie for the sixth and final postseason spot, the Saints were to play a doubleheader Friday at Corban University. Weather and field conditions made it a one-game day for the teams, but Carroll made that one game count – taking a 10-8 win over the conference leader, and the 15th-ranked team in the NAIA.
Down a run entering the top of the sixth, Carroll’s offense unloaded for a half-dozen runs to take control of the game. A pair of doubles, from Anna ApRoberts and Allison Bayer, led to three of the runs. Then Tianna Sell homered to left to drive in three, making it a 6-1 Carroll lead.
Corban added a single run in the third and fifth innings, but then stormed back ahead with a five-run sixth – aided by a pair of Saints errors.
Carroll immediately answered.
Bayer doubled to left to score Courtney Cloud and make it a one-run game. Ashley Davis, then, doubled to left, driving in Bayer and ApRoberts. That put the Saints ahead, but the visitors were able to tack on one more run on a Sell single, resulting in the final margin.
Carroll outhit the Warriors 10-8, and Ali Williams was credited with the win. She pitched the final two innings for Carroll, allowing one run on just one hit.
The teams will play another pair on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m. Those, too, are vitally important for Carroll, as fellow sixth-place team University of British Columbia took a pair of dominant wins over scuffling Northwest Christian on Friday.
Meanwhile, even with the loss, Corban locked up at least a share of the conference regular-season title thanks to a Southern Oregon loss. Corban owns the tiebreaker with SOU, meaning the Warriors have earned an automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament.