Junior Cavaliers look solid in regular season opener
Karly Tipps takes a cut at a pitch during Monday’s regular season opener. Tipps reached base four times with three walks and a single. She also scored two runs for the Cavies, including the winning tally in the bottom of the fifth. Enquirer Democrat Photo by Jackson Wilson.
By: JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
The Carlinville junior Cavaliers’ softball team welcomed the Lady Patriots of Bunker Hill to Loveless Park on Monday and cruised to an 11-1 victory. The win allowed head coach Julie Gibson to clear her bench.
“Once we got into the game and had a pretty good lead, we tried some different things,” said Gibson. “I had some girls bunt that normally wouldn’t but they dropped down great bunts. Hittingwise, we were solid and able to get a lot of girls in because of that. It was nice to get everyone some playing time.”
Kali Robinson turned in four scoreless frames on the mound, limiting her opponents to a total of three hits while striking out four. Isabella Tiburzi relieved Robinson in the fifth and held the Patriots to one run, setting the table for a mercy rule walkoff in the bottom half of the inning. The Cavies’ defense also played a major role by going the distance without committing an error.
“She did a great job for us,” Gibson said of Robinson. “She was super strong. We didn’t pull her out because she was doing bad or getting tired. I just want to give our other pitchers a chance to face some batters whenever possible.”
Robinson got into a minor jam in the first, but her infielders backed her up and kept the game scoreless by cutting down a runner at home plate.
In the bottom half, Karly Tipps drew a leadoff walk and later scored on an RBI single from Braley Wiser, who proceeded to steal second base and advance to third on a sacrifice groundout. This ‘small ball’ sequence worked in the Cavies’ favor. Olivia Kunz ripped a sharp grounder through the left side of the infield to score Wiser and add to the lead, 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Cavies took advantage of poor Patriot defense. The inning started with back-to-back errors and a wild pitch followed by a Tiburzi double to make it 4-0. Makenah Dugan advanced Tiburzi to third on a groundout, then Hannah Gibson sent a line drive over the center fielder’s head for a one-out triple. With a 5-0 cushion, Robinson helped her cause even further by executing a perfectly-placed safety squeeze. A Bunker Hill throwing miscue to first base allowed Gibson to score and gave Robinson a free pass to second.
Carlinville added three additional tallies in the fourth courtesy of a bases-loaded walk and back-to-back singles.
Needing only two runs to slam the door, the Cavies came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth with a full head of steam. Piper Tieman led off with a pinch-hit single and stolen base. Tipps worked a full count and drew a walk. Kendal Maddox occupied each station with a single of her own. With the bases juiced, Chloe Pope was hit by a pitch. Then, Addison Ruyle put the final nail in the coffin with a sacrifice bunt to score Tipps.
Carlinville improved their overall record to 3-1 with the win. The Cavies’ next home game is against Southwestern Friday, Sept. 6 at Loveless Park. Game time is 4:30 p.m.