Short-handed Frazier softball team falls to Carmichaels in key section matchup
Playing without its regular starting battery, the Frazier softball team was no match for visiting Carmichaels on Monday in a battle for the top spot in Section 2-A.
The Mikes banged out 13 hits, and pitcher Erica Burns tossed a three-hit gem that included 16 strikeouts as Carmichaels cruised to a 10-1 victory.
Carmichaels moves into first place, and the Commodores drop to the No. 2 spot.
“Every game in this section is like a playoff game because the top five teams are capable of beating each other on any given day,” Carmichaels coach Dave Briggs said. “This was a big win.”
Carmichaels (9-2, 7-1) took control right from the start, scoring four runs in the first inning. Back-to-back walks to Burns and Mia Virgili set the table for the Mikes' big inning. Emma Lowry drove in a run with a single before Amanda Brown connected for a two-run single.
Natalie McNett capped the inning with a run-scoring double to make it 4-0.
Brown finished with a game-high three hits, and the early offense was more than enough for Burns.
The Carmichaels right-hander was in control throughout, striking out the side in the second and fourth innings.
“It seems like she does well here, and she gets better and better each day,” Briggs said.
For the Commodores, a lack of contact was a serious problem.
“We knew we didn't have our strikeout pitcher, so the plan was to throw it over the plate and play defense,” Frazier coach Paul Harvey said.
“We did that for four or five innings, but if you can't score runs, you can't beat anybody.”
Frazier (7-3, 7-2) played without regular starting pitcher Paige Hotz and catcher Kelsey Holp. Hotz has been unavailable for four straight games, and Holp missed her first game because of a foot injury.
Alexus Eicher filled in on the mound, and Miranda Shepler assumed the duties behind the plate. Neither could help the Commodores find much offense.
Carmichaels got an unearned run in the fifth and sixth innings before the Commodores got on the board in their half of the sixth.
Monica Joseph, who had two of Frazier's three hits, singled to start the sixth. A stolen base was followed by an RBI single by Alena Blaszczak.
That was all the offense Frazier could muster, and Carmichaels put the game away with four more runs in the seventh, highlighted by a solo home run from Katie Mays and a two-run double from Burns.
For Briggs, his team's ability to set the tone early in the game was key.
“We've been in a lot of tight games lately, so it was nice to get a big jump early,” Briggs said.
As for the Commodores, they'll look to bounce back quickly as they travel to Jefferson-Morgan for another key section game Tuesday.
“It just wasn't a good game all-around,” Harvey said. “But we'll go back at it (Tuesday).”
Despite the loss, Frazier is in position to make the playoffs if it can pick up a couple more section wins.
“I figure we need nine wins to make the playoffs,” Harvey said. “We have seven now, so we have to get two more.”
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.