There were two goals early in the season for the Carthage baseball team: win the Springdale (Ark.) tournament, then win the Bill O'Dell Tournament in Carthage.
The Tigers won the Springdale tournament easily to open the season, and on Saturday they accomplished their second goal, beating Nevada 12-1 in five innings to capture the Bill O'Dell championship at Carl Lewton Stadium.
Carthage scored two runs in the first, four more in the second inning, three in the third and three in the fourth. The Tigers stole eight bases and often advanced on the base paths because of wild pitches and passed balls.
"When we got guys on we did a great job getting them in," head coach Mike Godfrey said. "We had some good at bats to be able to do that and keep innings going, scoring two-out runs a few times. It was nice to come out and take control of the game and play pretty well in every phase."
Junior Johnny Mills hit a groundball triple that rolled to the centerfield wall in the first inning, scoring junior Gabe Franklin, who reached on a walk. Senior Jordan Musser also walked in the inning, and when pinch runner Mason Goade, a sophomore, stole second base, Mills scored from third to make it 2-0.
Senior Seth Beckner walked and stole two bases in the second. After senior Keaton Giett walked, Franklin tripled to the left field wall to make it 4-0, and a sacrifice fly by senior Drew Bridges made it 5-0. A single down the left field line by senior Dalton Stafford scored another run.
In the third, Giett walked, Bridges reached on an error, Mills walked and Stafford hit another bloop single down the line as the Tigers increased their lead to 9-0.
Beckner walked in the fourth, and Franklin singled over the shortstop, Bridges hit a standup triple and Mills singled.
Musser, who pitched all five innings, struck out four hitters, allowed four hits and walked just one. Nevada scored its only run in the third after benefiting from a walk, a wild pitch and a single.
"He kept the ball down," Godfrey said. "His fastball was live and he changed speeds when he needed to. He really challenged them."
"Coming in to today, we've been winning games by playing maybe two out of three phases of the games well," Godfrey said. "Before the game I told them let's put it all together, and I felt like we did that today."
Carthage, now 9-0 on the season, will open Central Ozark Conference play on Tuesday with a 4:30 p.m. game at Nixa. The Tigers will host Neosho at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
"We had a goal of winning Springdale and we had a definite goal of winning this one," Godfrey said. "It tastes good."
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