Nothing can help ease the anxiousness of starting tournament play like a 4-0 lead after one inning.
Carroll began its quest for a fifth straight sectional title by jumping on DeKalb early en route to a 7-0 victory Wednesday at the Class 4A sectional opener at Carroll.
It was the second time in eight days the Chargers defeated the Barons.
They defeated DeKalb 13-9 on May 20, and Wednesday’s victory was the Chargers’ ninth in the last 10 games.
But this latest victory came at the start of the tournament, which is a different animal altogether – even for a program that hasn’t lost a sectional game since 2009.
It’s just that mentality of do or die, said Carroll coach Dave Ginder, whose team will play Snider – a 2-1 winner over Northrop in Wednesay’s other sectional game – at 10 a.m. Saturday in the semifinals.
It’s different for each group of kids. It’s that pressure of, Uh-oh, this could be it.’ You get a bad start, things start going bad, it can snowball on you real quick. So it’s always nice to kind of settle in.
The Chargers (19-9) could not have settled in any better Wednesday.
In the bottom of the first inning, they collected four hits, including a two-run double by Jacob Hansen, and sent 10 batters to the plate to build a 4-0 lead.
It certainly makes things a little bit easier, Ginder said of the start. I kind of like playing that first game and getting a game under our belt. Putting up four in the first certainly put us at ease a little bit more.
A 4-0 deficit only added to the pressure for DeKalb and starter Mitch McDonald, who gave up five more hits and three runs after the shaky first. The Barons also committed four errors, which led to three unearned runs.
I was a little rattled, but I felt like I started to settle in and was finding my groove, McDonald said. We just didn’t come out the way we were planning.
The Barons, who finished 12-16, also knew any deficit was going to be tough against Carroll senior Taylor Goshen. The Wichita State signee barely made his defense work as he allowed just one hit and struck out 11 DeKalb hitters over five innings.
He was solid, Ginder said of his ace. He was able to get by on a fastball and curveball tonight.
He’s a quality pitcher, so I like our chances with him on the mound. He had a good start, and it was good to see that.
Junior Grant Inman pitched the final two innings for the Chargers and added three more strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit.
It’s very difficult because they’ve relied on their pitching all season and we came out and made too many errors, McDonald said. That’s kind of been our problem just about the whole season. If we put things together, we could’ve been capable of winning it.
Carroll added two runs in the third on an RBI single by Luke Brunner and a sacrifice fly from Cameron Kohli and one more in the sixth on Hansen’s single.
North Side and East Noble will play in Saturday’s other Carroll Sectional semifinal game, with the first pitch scheduled fro 1 p.m.
The winners of the semifinals will meet in the championship game at 8 p.m.