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14-Inning Heartbreaker Ends Lady Dogs’ Season

Sometimes, sporting events can leave you speechless.

Wednesday afternoon was one of those instances…

The Carmi-White County Lady Bulldog softball team traveled to Carterville for the IHSA 2A Sectional Semifinal against the host Lady Lions.

Carmi had come off a 9-0 win over Fairfield in the Regional Championship game a week prior, bringing home their first regional title since 2016.

Their reward for winning a regional? Getting matched up with number-one ranked team in the state who had won 33 games in a row, with numerous Division I recruits up and down the lineup.

But when 3:15 PM Central Standard Time rolled around, that didn’t matter. It was time to play.

You could tell from the start, this game was going to be a pitchers’ duel. Carterville sophomore Taryn Ford was dominant, striking out 14 CWC batters and only giving up 3 hits.

Audrey Upton and the Lady Bulldog defense was equally as dominant with a sprinkle of clutch, and I mean very clutch.

Carterville had a runner at 3rd with 2 outs in the 2nd, the bases loaded with 2 outs in the 3rd, and runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out in the 4th and weren’t able to plate a single run.

Carmi had a few opportunities of their own as well. The Lady Dogs had runners on 1st and 2nd in the top of the 7th inning and weren’t able to come through, but after a 1-2-3 bottom of the 7th the game went into extra innings.

The trend of missing opportunities continued for both sides.

In the bottom of the 8th, Carterville had runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. A line drive off the bat of Maddie Rosenberry found the glove of Lindsay Simmons in right field, who then threw to Caroline Simmons covering 2nd base for a double play. While the Lady Bulldogs were celebrating the play, the Carterville runner who was at 1st base tried sneaking over to 2nd, only to get thrown out completing the triple play. The game remained tied at 0-0 going into the 9th inning.

Neither team could move any runners into scoring position in the 9th inning, but Carterville began the bottom of the 10th inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. To make matters worse, their Tennessee commit, Amayah Doyle was at the plate. Upton was able to get Doyle to pop out to 2nd base, and on the very next pitch Rosenberry hit a line drive right back to Upton who made the catch and then threw to 3rd base to double up the runner and end the inning. 0-0 heading into the 11th.

Eva Attebury led off the 11th inning with a single, and she made her way to 3rd base after a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt. But with Attebury at 3rd base and 2 outs, Carmi still couldn’t bring home the run.

Carterville once again had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 12th inning with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs, but a ground out to Caroline Simmons ended the threat and we headed to the 13th inning still tied 0-0.

Carmi went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 13th, and Carterville picked up a base hit from Lacie Carr but she was left stranded and the game remained tied 0-0 going to the 14th inning.

After another 1-2-3 top of the 14th, Carterville finally shut the door. A lead off double by Kendall McCala followed by a hard hit single from Colbie Bennett brought home the winning run and Carterville punched their ticket to the Sectional Championship Game with a 1-0 win.

Many tears were shed from CWC players, coaches, and parents. A heartbreaking finish to a memorable season, and the careers of 4 amazing seniors.

There is no question that the Lady Bulldogs left it all on the field. They gave the #1 team in the state everything they had and then some, and they were just one hit away from pulling off one of the biggest wins in CWC history.

The Lady Dogs finish the 2024 season with a 22-7 record, which included a Black Diamond Conference Championship and their first Regional Championship since 2016.

Congratulations to Coach Stubblefield and the Lady Bulldogs on an outstanding season!


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