Carthage put runners in scoring position in each of the last two innings, but visiting Webb City broke a tie game with a run in the seventh inning as the Cardinals defeated the Tigers 2-1 Thursday in softball action at the Fair Acres Sports Complex.
"We're one hit away two or three times from winning that thing," Carthage head coach Mike Godfrey said. "If we eliminate a couple mistakes, we don't need that extra hit."
Webb City scored in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead after benefiting from two singles and an error, but Carthage's Megan Taylor singled and scored in the bottom of the third to lock things up.
The score stood until the seventh, though the Tigers had a shot at scoring in the bottom of the sixth when a leadoff infield hit and a groundout put a runner at second base with two outs. Quincy Charleston hit a high fly ball to center field, but the Webb City outfield turned it into the final out of the inning.
Webb City got its leadoff hitter on base in the seventh on a short hit in front of the catcher. The next batter hit a line drive down the first base line, but Carthage's Taylar Golay made the catch and stepped on the bag for the double play.
The next batter hit a towering foul ball into the parking lot beyond right field before settling for a single to right, then stole second base before Webb City hit an infield single past the pitcher.
That put runners at the corners, and a walk loaded the bases. The Cardinals hit a grounder to short stop, and Carthage's Morgan Baugh fielded the ball and threw to third, but the runner was ruled safe after the throw was bobbled, allowing a runner to score.
"It looked like we were out of the threat with the double play and then they loaded the bases," Godfrey said. "They had a couple good at bats and did a good job. We just mishandled the ball and didn't get out of it. You can't make mistakes against good teams. It will get you every time. We didn't play bad but we didn't make a couple plays we needed to make to win in a game like this."
Carthage threatened to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. Tyesha Morgan reached on a walk with two outs, then Megan Taylor doubled to left field. The ball got past the Webb City outfielder, but she recovered and got the ball to the infield before the Tigers could score.
"I thought if she throws anything that they don't handle we've got a shot to go and that didn't happen," Godfrey said. "We were fortunate to end up with runners on second and third on that. It was a big hit by Megan, she had a really good game."
Page 2 of 2 - Mika Bolton then batted with two runners in scoring position, but Webb City forced her to groundout to the pitcher to end the game.
"Their pitcher does a good job," Godfrey said. "Her velocity's good and she does a good job putting it where she wants it. I thought we took some good swings but you can't miss it when it's there."
Carthage finished the game with just three hits. Baugh doubled, and Taylor singled and doubled.
Charleston struck out three batters in the loss.
"Quincy threw a good game," Godfrey said. "They're a good-hitting team. She did a good job keeping the ball down and keeping it away from their good hitters and hitting spots. I liked our mentality as a team. I'm definitely not satisfied, but we talked about what kind of mentality we wanted to play with and our girls did it and played with confidence. We're really growing in that area."
Carthage will play at 5 p.m. Monday on the road at Nevada. The Tigers play at Branson on Tuesday, and host Ozark on Thursday.