WARSAW – The Concord softball team produced at the plate when it mattered most Friday.
A bevy of key, two-out hits carried the Minutemen past host Warsaw 6-4 in Northern Lakes Conference play.
Concord tallied all six of its runs with clutch two-out hits and then held on at the end.
Warsaw rallied from a 6-1 deficit to pull within 6-4 in its final at-bat. The Tigers had runners on first and second before winning pitcher Jenny Miller got Kelsey Dotson and Kaitlyn Wiley, the No. 3 and 4 hitters in the Warsaw lineup, for the final two outs on a flyout to left and a pop out to first.
“Tip your hat to Miller at the end,” said Warsaw coach Jim Speicher. “She made good pitches and won the battle at the end to get those two outs.”
Warsaw, which dropped its second NLC game in two nights, led 1-0 on an RBI double by standout senior Dotson in the first.
Concord took the lead with a pair in the third frame by taking advantage of a Warsaw error and a failed Tiger attempt to catch a runner in a rundown between second and third.
“We need to shore up our defense,” Speicher said. “We had a couple of lapses and gave them a couple of runs or it’s 4-4 and we’re still playing.”
The Minutemen (8-6, 4-2) made it 4-1 in the fifth on a clutch, two-run single by Jade Iavagnilio. The guests stretched it to 6-1 in the sixth with the key hit being an RBI triple off the bat of Miller.
Warsaw managed just two hits in the second through fifth innings with five strikeouts before rallying late. Sophomore Ashley Ousley, who had a pair of hits, smacked a two-run double to score Dotson and Wiley to make it 6-3. The hosts got their final run in the seventh on an RBI single by stellar senior Kendra Marshall.
“They had more key at-bats tonight than we did,” said Speicher. “Our sticks didn’t get going until the sixth.
“We had been swinging the bats well when we won seven in a row prior to the last two games. We’ve struggled the past couple of games with getting quality at-bats.”
Dotson and Ousley paced Warsaw (8-6, 4-2) with two hits each. Second baseman Kara Dishman and third baseman Kayla Snider each had defensive gems for the Tigers. Dishman saved a run in the first with a diving stop of a grounder to her left for the final out.
Kennadie Lopez was 4-4 with two runs scored to lead Concord. Tori Braddock had two doubles and Miller and Iavagnilio each had two hits for the Minutemen.
Miller, a sophomore, fanned five and walked none for the win.
Senior Cari O’Hara struck out two and walked none in the circle for Warsaw.
Warsaw is slated to play at Fort Wayne Carroll Saturday (April 28) at 1:30 p.m.