Boone shuts out Carlisle
It’s not a matter of if, but when for Boone senior slugger Emma Dighton.
The when came in the fifth inning of an all-Raccoon River Conference Class 4A state quarterfinal yesterday at the Rogers Sports Complex, as Dighton broke open a scoreless game with a two-run home run to right field to help lift the fifth-ranked Toreadors to a 5-0 victory over fourth-ranked Carlisle.
It was the 56th dinger of Dighton’s prestigious career and it couldn’t have come at a better time. With two strikes, she sent a no-doubt bomb screaming over the fence.
“In that situation, I was just looking to get on base for my team,” Dighton, who hits north of .600 with 14 home runs on the season, said. “Usually when I go up wanting to hit a home run, I don’t. So I try not to think about it too much.”
Carlisle’s Hall of Fame head coach Jim Flaws intentionally walked Dighton with a base open in the second inning. He opted to roll the dice with a runner on first in the fifth and it simply didn’t work out.
“I told (assistant coach) Justin (Flaws) that we needed to walk her and he said he agreed,” Flaws said. “But then I thought I wasn’t going to put two girls on, but I should have walked her. I knew when that home run went over the fence that it was going to be tough.”
The long ball brought a roar from the Boone dugout.
“We always talk about scoring first because that gives you the momentum, so going up 2-0 was huge for our confidence,” Boone head coach Erica White said. “(Dighton) is just a kid that is a big-game maker. Having confidence with two strikes on her and going to the right side just shows that anything can happen.”
Boone (27-8), which won the season series over Carlisle 2-1, kicked in another three runs in the seventh, and the late-inning flurry was ignited by another home run. Natalee Danner led-off the frame with a solo shot to right, and Victoria Lewis and Kennedy Lewis roped back-to-back RBI singles later in the inning.
Five of Boone’s 10 hits came in the seventh, four coming off reliever Logan Brown who took over for starter Lexxi Link following Danner’s homer.
Dighton also doubled in the seventh and finished 2 for 3. Lead-off hitter Emily Ades went 2 for 4 with a double, and Kennedy Lewis also had a pair of hits.
Carlisle (28-11), which is in the state tournament field for the 19th time, had plenty of opportunities, particularly when it was still scoreless. Dighton, Boone’s starting pitcher, was tagged with seven illegal pitch calls for striding outside of the circle and she walked six. The Wildcats put a runner at second in the first inning, and two aboard in the second, third and fourth frames. But each time Dighton was able to wiggle out of trouble.
“The team that got the momentum at the end and the team that made the fewest mistakes won,” Flaws said. “We left 10 on base and you can’t do that.”
Dighton was touched for only four hits, two of them coming off the bat of Aubrey Furnal, and she struck out four. Reagan Roling and Lauren McGriff also singled for Carlisle.
Boone will face another conference opponent in the semifinals today when it meets defending state champion and top-ranked Winterset (35-7) at 3:30 p.m. Carlisle slipped into the consolation round where it will meet Oskaloosa (22-15) today at 11:30 a.m.
BOONE 5, CARLISLE 0
Boone 000 020 3 — 5 10 0
Carlisle 000 000 0 — 0 4 1
Emma Dighton and Zoey Hightshoe. Lexxi Link, Logan Brown (7) and Ashliah Hyde. W — Dighton. L — Link.
Multiple hits — Boone: Dighton, Emily Ades, Kennedy Lewis; Carlisle: Aubrey Furnal. 2B — Boone: Dighton, E. Ades, Alex McDonough. HR — Boone: Dighton, Natalee Danner. RBI — Boone: Dighton (2), Danner, K. Lewis, Victoria Lewis.