By SCOTT DAVIDSON
DUNLAP – The Warsaw softball team had a lot to play for Monday night.
It showed as the Tigers were in the swing of things all night long in crushing Concord 15-6 in a Northern Lakes Conference contest.
Warsaw got off the bus swinging their bats to wrap up second place in the NLC at 10-3. The Tigers also avenged a 6-4 home loss to the Minutemen from back on April 27 and started the final week of regular-season play with a bang.
For good measure, Cari O’Hara notched her 14th pitching win of the season to tie the school record for victories.
All in all, it was some night for the Tigers.
Warsaw banged out 22 hits in the romp as six players had multiple hits. The Tigers built a 9-0 lead early in the marathon game that took 2:20 to play.
“I’m real happy in that we had a lot of quality at-bats tonight and seemed to be locked in at the plate,” said Warsaw coach Jim Speicher. “I didn’t think we’d had a lot of quality at-bats lately. We were just okay Saturday. We only had a total of 10 hits in beating Peru 4-3 and Homestead 3-1 in our own tourney.
“I was little concerned tonight since we had our prom Saturday night. I don’t know what it was to make us hit like that, but I hope it carries over. We have flopped our order a little bit. If we can get 5-6 batters to click like tonight it will help us.”
Senior star Kendra Marshall led Warsaw with four hits, including a pair of doubles. The cleanup hitter drove in three runs. Leadoff hitter and junior Kaitlin Wiley had three hits, including two triples, three RBI and scored three times. Sophomore Ashley Ousley had three hits and three RBI and standout catcher Kelsey Dotson three hits, two RBI and four runs scored. Sophomore Kara Dishman had three hits and junior Kayla Snider two.
O’Hara continues her amazing senior season. The right-hander, who pitched primarily on the JV team a year ago, improved to 14-5. She pitched the first three innings before freshman Taylor Stiver relieved for the next three. O’Hara then got the final three outs of the game.
“It’s just a marvelous story what Cari has done for us this season,” Speicher said. “Tonight, I thought she was tired and not as sharp as usual. She’s pitched a lot of innings.”
The soft-spoken, mild-mannered O’Hara had little reaction to tying a school record.
“Really?,” responded O’Hara when informed she had tied the mark. “It does mean a lot because I never thought I would do that. It was awesome to be up 9-0 tonight. We were there tonight and ready to beat them.”
Warsaw scored five in the second as 11 batters paraded to the plate. Ousley had the big hit with a two-run double. The Tigers made it 9-0 in the third with four more tallies. Wiley smacked an RBI triple and star Dotson an RBI double in the frame.
Concord (16-9, 8-5) cut it to 9-5 in the third with five hits. Warsaw answered with three in the fourth to make it 12-5 as Wiley slashed another RBI triple and Marshall added an RBI double.
The game saw the teams combine for 31 hits and 10 errors. Warsaw turned two double plays on balls hit to the outfield, including one to end the game. There was also not a single 1-2-3 half inning in the crazy contest.
Sophomore Jenny Miller, the losing pitcher, had three hits and two RBI for the hosts. Paige Freeze and Sammy Swain each had two hits for Concord.
Warsaw (16-8, 10-3) hosts Class 3-A No. 1 Marian (23-1) Tuesday night at 5 p.m. for Senior Night.