ANDERSON — The Carthage Tigers’ surprising run to a Class 5, District 12 title last season began with a quarterfinal victory over No. 3 seed McDonald County.
On Tuesday, district rivals Carthage and McDonald County met again and the Tigers came away with a 7-3 victory, eradicating a 3-2 deficit with a five-run explosion in the seventh.
Of course, that explosion started when Zeke Sappington worked a leadoff walk against McDonald County starter Boston Dowd, who threw four straight balls after a first pitch strike. Trason Vogt fouled off two straight pitches with two strikes before connecting on a RBI double.
Ian O’Malley gave Carthage the lead on a single bringing home Vogt and then Kale Schrader hit a three-run homer off reliever Izak Johnson.
Bryce Pugh reached on a bunt single between Vogt’s double and O’Malley’s single.
In the home half of the seventh, center fielder Vogt made a huge play to end the game — he caught Joe Brown’s line drive for the second out and then he doubled off Jordan Platter at first for the third.
Dowd, who came out victorious the week before against district rival Neosho in a 2-1 duel against Jared Stephens, took a loss Tuesday with six runs (four earned) on eight hits over six innings with three strikeouts and two walks.
O’Malley earned the victory, allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. O’Malley finished with 102 pitches, just one more than the combined work for Dowd and Johnson.
Schrader and O’Malley each drove in three runs, with both players connecting on doubles.
Brown’s two-run homer in the sixth gave McDonald County a 3-2 lead.
Platter collected four of the Mustangs’ seven hits, one double and three singles.
McDonald County dropped to 3-3 overall entering Saturday baseball at home against former Big 8 Conference rival Carl Junction. The Mustangs then return home Monday for another tilt against a district rival, Webb City.