By SCOTT DAVIDSON
GOSHEN – Warsaw’s battery of Cari O’Hara and Kelsey Dotson had plenty of charge to power the Tigers to a 10-0 romp over Goshen in Northern Lakes Conference softball play Friday night.
The pair of seniors were stellar as Warsaw rolled to the victory at Shanklin Park to improve to 11-6 overall and 7-2 in league play.
Pitcher O’Hara fired a masterful one-hitter in the circle, while catcher Dotson had four of her team’s 18 hits and showcased all of her stellar skill set behind the dish.
Warsaw, which edged Goshen 4-3 at home on April 18 with a run in their final at-bat, left no doubt in this one. An RBI triple by No. 3 rocket launcher Dotson and an RBI single by Kaitlin Wiley in the first staked the Tigers to a quick 2-0 lead.
Junior Wiley, the Tigers’ cleanup hitter, had three hits with a double and a triple and three RBI. Senior standout Kendra Marshall had two hits and two RBI and junior Kayla Snider, sophomore Ashley Ousley and senior Sam Bennett each also smacked two hits.
O’Hara, who pitched mainly for the Tiger JV last season, controlled the game. The right-hander gave up just a leadoff single to Morgan Vanover in the third inning. She struck out two and walked none for her ninth win.
“No I didn’t know I had a one-hitter, I don’t keep track,” said O’Hara of her gem. “I threw the strikes I needed tonight. “We were more ready tonight than the first time we played them and our hitting was better.”
O’Hara earned the praise of teammate Dotson and her coach Jim Speicher.
“I’ve had so much respect the whole season for what Cari has done,” said Dotson, who will play at Indiana University. “She’s been really incredible. She’s always focused.”
“I’m just really pleased with Cari,” Speicher said. “She’s went over and beyond what we expected of her this year. She’s done what we preach in that if you throw strikes and hit spots you have a chance to be successful and she has.”
Warsaw capped a week in which they went 3-0 in league play with one-run wins over Elkhart Memorial and Wawasee prior to Friday’s romp. The victories came after NLC losses to undefeated Northridge and Concord snapped a seven-game winning streak.
“We came out a lot more ready to play than the first time we played them,” said Dotson. “We had a little talk tonight and got on the same page. After those two losses last week, there was stuff we needed to change and we decided to step it up.”
Dotson, who ranks fourth in state history with 28 career homers, had two RBIs and scored three runs. She also showed off her cannon of an arm by scooping up a Goshen sacrifice bunt attempt in the sixth frame and firing a laser to second for a force out.
“I love all aspects of the game, they are equal to me,” commented Dotson, who had a homer in the first win over the Redskins. “You have to score to win so offense is maybe more important, but it’s pretty fun to get that lead runner like on that bunt play.”
The Tigers, who took advantage of five errors by Goshen, scored four in the seventh to complete the offensive outburst. Marshall and Dotson had back-to-back RBI doubles and Wiley then followed with an RBI triple.
“We’ve got a resilient, competitive group,” said Speicher. “We were all a little frustrated after the two losses last week. We had a talk after the Concord game and the girls seem more relaxed.
“We had good at-bats tonight. We had a good approach at the plate and did a good job getting the counts in our favor and then hitting the ball hard when we got our pitch. We had a light practice Thursday and I think we were fresh tonight.
“Kelsey hits the ball harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. She has all the tools and just loves the game. She wants to make the big play.”
Goshen, which won NLC and sectional titles in 2011, falls to 4-16 overall and 3-6 in conference play. The Redskins have just one senior in Mckenzie Byler, who took the pitching loss Friday.
Warsaw plays at Rochester at noon Saturday (May 5).