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Carroll opens home tourney with 8-1 win over Grant

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By Tim Hendrick

The weather has been the number one opponent for spring sports. Softball and baseball have had numerous cancellations and The News-Democrat Spring Classic scheduled for April 6-7 was also changed.

The Spring Classic was rescheduled with six games on Friday, April 6, due to the possibility of snow and rain on Saturday, April 7.

Carroll County opened the tournament with an 8-1 win over Grant County. The Lady Panthers opened with pitcher Andrea Searcy striking out the side in the first inning. Carroll bats came alive after they had been shut out in the season opener at Marion County on April 4.

Bailey Mefford led off the bottom of the first with a double. Allie Beach grounded out to the first baseman advancing Mefford to third base. Mallory Besselman singled driving in Mefford for Carroll’s first run. Searcy doubled down the left field line driving in Besselman. Hailey Austin struck out and Maddie Sanders popped up to the third baseman to end the inning.

Carroll scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Gracie Craig grounded out to start the inning and Ciara Hamilton singled up the middle and then stole second base. Kay Gaddis doubled up the middle when Grant County center fielder Whitney McGuffey dove for the ball and missed. Hamilton scored on the play as Carroll increased the lead to 3-0. Mefford singled down the first base line scoring Gaddis.

Grant made a pitching change bringing in Heidi Chischilly to pitch. Mefford advanced to third base on a wild pitch then Besselman hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Mefford as Carroll took a 5-0 lead after two innings.

Gaddis led off the fourth inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She scored on a single by Mefford. Mefford advanced to second on the throw back into the infield. Beach grounded to the third baseman beating the throw to first base. The throw got away from the first baseman allowing Mefford to score and Beach to advance to second base. Besselman singled to center field and Beach advanced to third base. She scored on a ground ball by Searcy to the shortstop. Austin and Sanders also grounded out as Carroll took a 8-0 lead into the top of the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, Austin misplayed a ground ball up the first base line allowing the first Grant County base-runner since the first inning. Searcy had not allowed one for the previous four innings. Through five innings she had thrown a no hitter and was a walk from a perfect game.

Grant County’s Hannah Coldiron then sent a rocket to left center field that hit the top of the fence for a stand up double. Lacie Coldiron hit a ground ball back to Searcy and she was unable to throw out the runner coming in from third base ending the shutout. Searcy was able to get the next two batters to pop up to second and ground out to shortstop to end the game.

Mefford had three hits to lead Carroll County. Besselman, Searcy, Hamilton and Gaddis each had a hit for Carroll. Mefford, Searcy, Besselman each had two runs batted in and Gaddis had one.

Searcy picked up the win giving up one hit. She struck out eight and walked two batters.