CARLISLE — Bailey Naylor found herself right in the middle of a raucous celebration Wednesday.
Carlisle High School’s senior catcher was the walkoff hero in a Division III sectional softball contest against visiting Indian Lake, smacking a two-out single to score Caitlyn Stewart from second base and give the Indians a 2-1 victory.
“I don’t think I’ve ever screamed that much,” said Naylor, holding the ball from her big hit during a postgame interview. “I think it sunk in as soon as I saw Stew hit the plate. I’m a quiet person, and I was just screaming and jumping in the air. I’m just so happy.”
Sophomore southpaw Abby Goodpaster tossed a three-hitter with seven strikeouts for the sixth-seeded Indians (15-10), who have now won two tournament games for the first time since 2014.
Carlisle will head to Versailles on Monday to face No. 2 seed Brookville in a 5 p.m. district semifinal.
“This is the best feeling ever. My face hurts from smiling so much,” Goodpaster said. “It’s been a good year. There’s a couple games we could’ve gotten, but I think we’ve done our job. Now we want to go get another one.”
The Indians started four freshmen and three sophomores Wednesday. The team’s only seniors are Naylor and center fielder Sierra Bolen.
“These kids don’t give up,” Carlisle coach Tom Shelton said. “I know people don’t believe this, but I could care less for me. This is about the girls. I want it for them because I know what they do. I know what they sacrifice. I know how much they want to win and how much they care.
“I get excited in a game like that when somebody like Bailey Naylor gets the big hit. Being a senior and the way she plays and never complains and does everything I ask, it makes me really happy to see her come through and win the game for us.”
Stewart and Kaylee Lawson had two hits apiece for the Indians, who are 9-1 in the last three weeks. Stewart ignited the game-winning rally in the seventh with a one-out single.
She went to second on a passed ball and didn’t advance on an Erin Ridinger ground out. Indian Lake then intentionally walked Lawson to get to Naylor, who was 0-for-3 at that point. She responded by sending a Callie Stidam pitch back up the middle and into center field.
“I think it was a fastball inside,” Naylor said. “I was excited that I was hitting because I have confidence in myself. I was like, ‘I’m just hitting. I don’t care. I’m getting this hit.’
“I’m watching Stew round third base and I’m like, ‘Please just get home.’ I was praying the center fielder didn’t have a good arm. When I see her score, I’m in shock. I’m literally in shock. We haven’t made it this far since I’ve been on varsity. I feel like it’s our turn this year.”
Stidam, a junior right-hander, pitched a seven-hitter with four strikeouts for the seventh-seeded Lakers (11-10), who made it to the regional semifinals last season before losing to Williamsburg.
Bethany Golliday’s RBI single gave Indian Lake a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth. Carlisle countered in the bottom of the inning with an RBI double by Lawson.
“No offense, but it’s a game we should win,” said Indian Lake coach Skip Oliver, noting that the Lakers returned a lot of talent from last year’s regional squad and play in a “very, very, very tough” Central Buckeye Conference. “As soon as we got off that bus today, we were flat. We just have not hit the ball. (Carlisle) took advantage of it and did what they had to do. They deserved it.”
Indian Lake opened the game by loading the bases on a dropped fly ball and two walks. The Lakers didn’t score after two popups and a fly out.
“I’m thinking we’re going to have to do a lot of hitting because they’re going to score three or four runs here,” Shelton said of his mind-set in the first inning. “They just didn’t get good swings on Abby, which has happened all year, and we got three outs.
“Abby is a bulldog out there. She doesn’t throw real hard, but she hits her spots and hates to walk people. She just keeps you in ballgames.”
Goodpaster likes to keep the ball down, and Naylor said the home-plate umpire wasn’t giving her the low strike early in the game.
“I was a little frustrated we didn’t get the fly ball, and then he’s squeezing me at the plate,” Goodpaster said. “Those walks weren’t really legit, but you just have to keep going. We got out of it.”
Shelton said Stidam was one of the hardest throwers the Indians have faced this year. He said the best power pitching Carlisle saw before her came in the season-opening Grand Strand Classic in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. (where the Indians went 1-4 against Division I opponents) and from Cincinnati Christian’s Briahna Bush.
Goodpaster retired the last seven Lakers and fanned the side in the top of the seventh.
“That’s fun. I love to be in those situations,” she said. “I felt good out there. My screwball was really coming through today.”
Indian Lake, which is only losing one senior this season, will finish the year Friday with a CBC road game against London.
Indian Lake 000-010-0—1-3-2
WP — Abby Goodpaster (14-7); LP — Callie Stidam (8-3). Records: IL 11-10, C 15-10