Ford Tough: Carterville walks off with 2A state championship

Darren Kinnard/River Radio Sports Central

PEORIA – On the verge of tears, happy tears, Carterville sophomore Taryn Ford said they did it for the seniors. 

“It” was the program’s third softball state championship, this one came courtesy a 1-0 win over North Boone, and Ford’s fingerprints were all over it. The sophomore’s two-out, bases loaded, walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh was the game winner, driving in Colbie Bennett with the game’s only run.

Ford was a big part of that too. After getting the save in Friday’s 10-inning, nail-biting win to dethrone three-time defending champion Rockridge, Ford got the start in the championship and struck out 16 over six and a third innings.

After a single with one out in the seventh, Carterville head coach Will Capie called on another sophomore, Caidence Phillips, out of the bullpen. Phillips pitched nine and two-third innings and got the win in the aforementioned semifinal win over Rockridge.

Phillips came in and got a strikeout, then shortstop Kendall McCalla robbed Sydney Goodman of a basehit with a diving stop, then tossing it to Karson Caudill from her belly to get the inning-ending forceout and set the stage for drama in the bottom half of the seventh.

A walk, an error and a ground out put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out for the Amayah Doyle who was already 2-2 on the day, but Vikings head coach Tim Fleming said there’s no way the Tennessee signee was going to beat them, choosing to walk her intentionally to load the bases.

Maddie Rosenbery grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out, before Ford lined a 2-1 pitch into right center for the game winner.

Ford was up with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. She had a 3-0 count when McCalla was called out at third for violating the circle rule–that’s where if a runner is off base and doesn’t try to advance while the pitcher has the ball in the circle, and the umpire counts to three, the runner is out. Carterville head coach Will Capie voiced his displeasure to no avail.

The story of the two days at state for the Lady Lions was the pitching. Phillips and Ford combined to pitch 17 shutout innings in the two games, allowing only eight hits while striking out 32.

Carterville finishes 38-1, keeping the eight-year trend alive. The Lady Lions’ state titles came in 2008, 2016, and now 2024.

Before you pencil the Lady Lions in for title in ’32, Phillips and company say they don’t want the program to have to wait eight more years for another.

ReCENT Posts