BIG WIN: Carroll County’s (above, from left) Mackenzie Hawkins, Mackenzie Ogden, Jenah Roberts and Sarah Hawkins celebrate their team’s 7-6 win over Walton-Verona Tuesday. Shortstop Mackenzie Ogden (below) was just late getting the tag down as Walton-Verona’s Hannah Thacker slides safely into second with a stolen base. A late rally pushed Carroll to its second win in as many games. (Staff photos by David Hill)
BIG WIN: Carroll County’s (above, from left) Mackenzie Hawkins, Mackenzie Ogden, Jenah Roberts and Sarah Hawkins celebrate their team’s 7-6 win over Walton-Verona Tuesday. Shortstop Mackenzie Ogden (below) was just late getting the tag down as Walton-Verona’s Hannah Thacker slides safely into second with a stolen base. A late rally pushed Carroll to its second win in as many games. (Staff photos by David Hill)
Carroll County improved to 2-0 on Tuesday with a 7-6 softball win over Walton-Verona on Tuesday.

"It was a win but we tried every way to give this one to them by mistakes and errors," Carroll head coach Dennis Hawkins said. "I'm going to burn the tape on this game. Games like this happen. We were nervous and anxious.

"I don't know. But, when it came down to the end, we all stepped up with key plays and pulled it out."

Carroll County entered the sixth inning trailing 6-5 and rallied to take a 7-6 lead on a two-run single by Kelsey Ogden.

In the top of the seventh, Panthers' first baseman Michaela Culver fired a strike to catcher Mackenzie Hawkins to nail the would-be tying run at the plate for the final out of the contest.

"We were lucky to win tonight," Hawkins reiterated. "Hopefully, this will be our worst game of the season. They came here to beat us and we didn't let them. Everybody toughed it out."

Carroll County starting pitcher senior Sarah Hawkins got the pitching win despite not being at her best, according to her coach and father.

"She had chest pains and rapid heartbeat and didn't play in the opener and wasn't herself tonight," Hawkins said of his daughter. "I think it was mostly stress. But give her credit. She really brought it in the last two innings when we needed it."

The Panthers struck first as they pushed across two runs in the first inning. Kelsey Ogden and Culver both reached. Ogden scored on a hit by Sarah Hawkins and Culver scored on an error. Walton-Verona tied the score in the second inning on a series of Carroll miscues.

The Bearcats took a 3-2 lead in the third inning on an unearned run before the Panthers grabbed the lead back on a three-spot in the bottom of the inning.

With one out, Mackenzie Ogden walked and scored on an error on a ball hit by Kelsey Ogden. Culver then gave the Panthers a 4-3 advantage on a base hit.

Carroll went up, 5-3, when Mackenzie Hawkins' liner to right field was mis-played.

Walton-Verona took advantage of more poor fielding by the Panthers to go up 6-5 in the fifth inning.

After both teams went scoreless in the fifth inning, the Panthers pushed across the tying and winning runs with one out. Jenah Roberts opened the rally with a bunt single and Kayla Williamson reached on a hit. Mackenzie Ogden later walked to load the bases which set the stage for Kelsey's game-winning RBI.

In the Walton-Verona seventh, Julann Ginn reached on an error and advanced to second after two were out. Aubrielle Anderson then hit the ball to the right side of the infield and Ginn was gunned down at home plate trying to score on the play.

"I think there were several key plays in the win," Hawkins said. "Jenah's push bunt and running catch in the outfield and Michaela's throw to the plate were ones that pop up."

Hawkins struck out eight batters in a winning performance. Walton-Verona's Hannah was tagged with the loss.

Carroll County (2-0) returns to action Thursday at Eminence.

Walton-Verona hosts St. Henry Thursday in its home opener.