FRANKFORT — Each half inning got more and more tense as the evening light faded and opportunities to score were squandered on base.
The Carroll Cougars went toe-to-toe with the top-ranked North Miami Warriors and their star pitcher, Josie Wood.
The Class A Clinton Prairie Semistate final was scoreless through the regulation seven innings, then an eighth and all but one out in the ninth before North Miami finally broke through with a two-out run in the bottom of the second extra frame. That gave North Miami a 1-0 victory and a spot in next Saturday’s state finals against North Daviess.
“There was a lot of tension,” North Miami coach Bob Cooley said. “We were trying very hard to get in scoring position, let alone have the opportunity to score once we got there. I think the girls stayed focused pretty good, but yeah it was a nerve-wracking game.”
It ended when North Miami’s No. 9 hitter Alyssa Bishop steered a two-out single to left field to score Savannah Davis. Davis had led off the frame and reached on an error.
“This is tremendous,” Cooley said of making it to state. “I’ve never been here before, the school never has. [We’ve enjoyed] a tremendous outpouring from the community, so it’s pretty exciting.”
The run in the ninth inning ended Carroll’s season just shy of the state finals. Carroll ended the campaign 22-10.
“They did a phenomenal job, we just didn’t get the hits down at the plate,” Carroll coach Stephanie Pencek said.
Carroll had one hit against Wood, who fanned 18 batters. The Cougars were almost as tough to crack. Carroll junior Carly Kingery gave up just three hits and two walks. She worked her way out of a bases-loaded situation in the sixth and finished with a dozen strikeouts.