Distracted Naylor takes win over East Carter
ELLSINORE -- There are dresses to think about.
Naylor was able to escape East Carter with a 2-1 win Friday in a game that they were not mentally ready for.
"We didn't mentally come to play today from the get go," Naylor coach Gene Deckard said. "We've got two, three, four girls going to prom (Saturday) and they were mentally distracted. We just weren't mentally in the game.
"We didn't get some bunts down. We bunted when we were just fake bunting and stealing and got ourselves out. We went up there and hit too many first pitch, borderline pitches and we were very fortunate to come away with a win."
Brooklyn Urich scored in the second inning after singling with one out to give Naylor (7-1) the early lead.
Pitcher Shayna Tharp kept the Lady Redbirds off the scoreboard until the sixth.
East Carter (3-6) leadoff hitter Brooklyn Loftis and Jaden Douglas singled to start the bottom of the sixth inning.
Loftis, who went 2-for-4 with a stolen base, scored standing up on Andrea Kearbey's sacrifice fly to right field.
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With the momentum switching to East Carter's dugout, Naylor pressed some at the plate and Kearbey retired the side in the seventh on six pitches.
"We went up there and swung at her pitch all day long," Deckard said.
Tharp held the winning run at first base in the seventh and in the top of the eighth, Callee Pickrell reached second when her deep fly ball dropped for an error.
Gracie Gargac hit a grounder to short, but the throw to first was wide and Pickrell scored on the error.
"Our defense has been OK, but when we get into pressure situations, we are just not capitalizing on defense at that point," East Carter coach Teresa Kearbey said. "We were hitting the ball, but we've got to overcome the nerves."
Tharp retired the side in the bottom of the eighth to get the win.
She finished with six strikeouts, five hits and one walk against and also went 2-for-4 with a double at the plate.
Kearbey gave up five hits, three walks and one strikeout.
"She pitched very well. She was moving the ball well, she was getting very, very aggravated. She wasn't getting the calls that she wanted," Coach Kearbey said.
Kearbey retired the side in the first, third and seventh innings. The Lady Redbirds committed four errors behind her and had a double play in the fourth inning.
Keabey was particularly effective against the top of Naylor's lineup. The first three batters had two hits between them. The bottom three of the lineup similarly went 0-for-8 with a walk. Tharp was the only Lady Eagle with multiple hits and the only Lady Eagle with an extra base hit.
Tharp gave up two hits to Loftis and kept the rest of the lineup in check.
She retired the side in the third, fifth and eighth innings and had one strikeout in every inning but the fourth and sixth.
Nobody managed an extra base hit off Tharp. East Carter scored the only time it got consecutive hits or two hits in an inning.
The game was the final tuneup for both teams entering next week's Ozark Foothills Conference tournament. Naylor is the top seed for the fourth time in five years.
"This wasn't the same team that played Wednesday (in a win against Kennett)," Deckard said. "We're alright, this time of year, there is so much going on."
East Carter earned the No. 3 seed at Wednesday's meeting, but has lost consecutive conference games by a single run to No. 4 Twin Rivers and now Naylor heading into Monday's opening-round matchup against No. 6 Clearwater.