YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – In a matchup of regionally-ranked foes, Carson-Newman (28-18) and Young Harris (32-15) both left opportunities on the base paths en route to a doubleheader split Wednesday afternoon at E.D. Rivers Field.
Young Harris run-ruled Carson-Newman in game one 9-1 in five innings before the Eagles rallied for a 5-2 win in the nightcap. Young Harris is ranked sixth in the opening region rankings while Carson-Newman is 10th.
Carson-Newman left 18 runners on base for the doubleheader while Young Harris stranded a whopping 22.
"In the first game, we didn't adjust to the umpire's strike zone, either in the circle or at the plate," Carson-Newman interim head coach Michael Graves said. "We put ourselves in a bad situation and couldn't get out of it. We all agreed that stuff hurt us in game one and fixed it a bit in game two. Even in game two though, we left too many on base. That's the stuff that's separating us from being a great team. In the short time we have left this season, we're going to be a great team. We need to take advantage of the situations where we have runners on second and third with one out."
"The mindset in that second game was totally different," Graves said. "That was true from the nine in the field to those in the dugout. That's the attitude that we need to look for each time we take the field no matter who the competition is."
Caldwell went 4-for-6 at the plate through the twin bill. KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) hit a two-run jack, the second of her sophomore season and fourth of her career, to power her way to a multi-RBI effort.
"Haley has so much power at the plate," Graves said. "She has to come into the box and swing with the potential to drive in runs. She roped balls to the fence left and right that had the potential to drive in runs. Abby did some good things today, but she also let some pitches go by that she should have been attacking. We've done some extra hitting in practice, and I think it's showed these past two doubleheaders."
Game one: Young Harris 9, Carson-Newman 1 (Five innings)
Young Harris took advantage of the Eagles inability to find the strike zone to grab an early lead. In the bottom of the first inning, Carson-Newman issued five free passes. Two walks and a one-out single loaded the bases for the Mountain Lions.
Murphy Davis delivered the first run with sacrifice fly down the right field line.
Three straight bases on balls loaded things up again for the Mountain Lions with the latter two walks bringing in two more runs. Carson-Newman starter Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) fired nine straight pitches out of the zone before she was relieved by Morgan Crawford (Chickamauga, Ga.). Crawford got a K to end the inning. The Mountain Lions plated three runs in the frame off of one hit.
The Eagles got a run back in the top of the third to trim the deficit to 3-1. KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) looped a one-out single down the right field line before Rinus walked.
After a fielder's choice retired the lead runner, Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) ripped a two-out single back up the box to score Rinus and get C-N within two.
Young Harris got those runs back and then some in the bottom of the fourth. The Mountain Lions had the bases loaded with one out thanks to a pair of infield singles, one to third and one to short; plus a fielding error at short. Carson-Newman got a run out at the plate on a 1-2 putout and narrowly missed rolling up a 1-2-3, inning-ending double play.
The Mountain Lions took advantage of the lack of a double play and the E6 to tally three unearned runs. Jill Torres drove in one with a two-out lick to right before Sara Alderman lit the lamp twice more with a base hit to center. The latter hit put Young Harris up 6-1.
Young Harris walked it off via the run-rule the next frame. After a leadoff single, Hannah Harrison doubled in a run from three bases away with a laser beam into the right center field alleyway.
An error on a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base put the game-ending run in scoring position. Davis delivered with the second double of the frame, shooting the gap into left center, to score two and set the final margin at 9-1.
Rinus took the loss in the circle for C-N. She pitched the first two-thirds of an inning, walking five and giving up three runs, all earned. She dropped to 17-11 on the year.
Crawford finished the game out with 3.2 innings of work. She surrendered eight hits and six runs, half of which were earned.
Haylie Shope logged the win to improve to 3-0. She tossed five innings of four-hit, one-run ball, striking out four and walking three.
Game two: Carson-Newman 5, Young Harris 2
Carson-Newman turned the tables in the nightcap and struck first. Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) single to third to lead off the game. She moved to second on a passed ball and took third on a KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) sacrifice. After a walk, Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) singled through the left side to bring Fiessinger in and put C-N up 1-0.
The Eagles kept it up with more runs in the second. Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) led off the inning with a single up the middle. With two out, Levi belted a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left for her fourth career home run to polish off an eight-pitch at-bat and push C-N's advantage to 3-0.
Carson-Newman added two more in the third to stretch the lead to 5-0. Haley Caldwell doubled to left center to lead off the inning. She took third on a Pritchett groundout. Then, on a Boles ground ball to third, Caldwell sprinted home and ducked underneath the tag from the catcher to hand Boles an RBI fielder's choice.
Carson-Newman had opportunities to further extend the lead, but left the bases loaded in the fourth and couldn't score a run in the sixth with runners on second and first with two out.
Young Harris scraped back two runs in the sixth before the Eagles clamped down to cement the win.
Rinus got the W in the circle to improve to 18-11. She struck out seven and walked five.
Dharma Rosbrugh got the start and the loss for YHC to fall to 20-10.
Carson-Newman closes out the regular season at Catawba Saturday at 1 p.m.