Four runs scored on base hits, two scored on errors and one more on a wild pitch, as the No. 4 Trojans (9-3, 1-0 Region 5-AAAA) scored early and late to hold off the top-ranked Blue Devils.
"That's a great way to start region. You come out and you play the big dogs. It's a big win. We're going to live it up [Thursday], but [today] we're going to focus on the next opponent, the next man up," First-year Carrollton coach Ryan Zaideman said. "We had some good momentum coming in from the win against Hillgrove for this game. We had some timely hits, big hits, hits with two outs and were aggressive on the basepaths and we played well defensively."
Columbus (6-4, 0-1) took advantage of a leadoff walk to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Carrollton had a quick response.
In the home half of the first inning, the Trojans scored three runs, as Sam Turner scored on an error following his leadoff single, Christopher Hicks scored when John Gaiter reached on an error and Andrew Turner was brought home by Drew Dickey's RBI single to take the 3-1 advantage.
That lead wouldn't last long, as the Blue Devils were able to scrape a pair of runs across in the second inning to tie things up before both teams' pitching settled down.
It was the Trojans who would break the tie in the bottom of the fifth inning, as with one out Hicks got a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Andrew Turner's single. Turner would then advance to second on the throw and third on an error before scoring on Gaiter's single two batters later, making it 5-3.
After Columbus added a run in the sixth, the Trojans picked up a pair of insurance runs after Chip Murrah doubled down the third-base line, stole third and scored when the Blue Devil catcher overthrew third base. Then Sam Turner manufactured a run after singling and moving to second on an error. Turner and Hicks — who reached on the error — were in motion when Andrew Turner walked and Sam Turner came all the way from second to score when the ball got past the catcher.
That was enough for Ty Wood, who allowed another run in the top of the seventh, but shut the door for the 7-5 victory.
Wood got the win for his 2.2 innings of working, giving up the pair of runs on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts after Hicks pitched three innings of scoreless work in relief of starter Tanner Roach.
"Tanner came in and battled. He didn't have his usual stuff, but he battled for us. Chris came in and did a good job. Then our bulldog came in and closed it out for us," Zaideman said. "They battled. That's what's special about this group, they didn't panic. It was a dogfight [Thursday], and that's a battle you love to be in. If you're going to be an elite team, you're going to have to withstand all the adversity you're going to face in a game."
Sam Turner, Hicks and Gaiter all had three hits, while each of the top three batters in the Carrollton lineup — Turner, Hicks and Andrew Turner — scored two runs each.
The Trojans also got some quality defense, especially coming from Murrah in the top of the fourth when he ran down a deep fly ball to right-center field and laid out to make the play.
"It was a great team win. We had Reed Gaston come in and play great defense off the bench for us. Chip Murrah is just a hawk out there. He's tracked them down all year. Andrew Turner's our spark plug. When we need that spark to light a fire, he usually does it for us. Whenever we get Hicks on base, he usually makes something happen. Chip had a big double, too, [Thursday]. We had some big hits from the guys lower in the lineup and from guys at the top of the lineup. It was a good day," Zaideman said.
With a region as difficult as Region 5-AAAA is this season with three teams currently ranked in the top 10 and starting with the three-time defending state champs and No. 1 team in the state, the first-year coach was thankful to have the help of his coaching staff — Kurt Hitzeman, Trent Bianco, Tim Criswell and Andy Marinelli.
Carrollton will now take a quick break from region play, as it will travel to face Centennial on the road Saturday at 12 p.m.