By Pete Sisk, Sun Correspondent
CAPE CORAL — Charlotte’s softball team couldn’t have asked for much more out of a season-opener Monday night.
The Tarpons jumped out front early, kept right on rolling, and had no trouble posting a 10-1 victory against Mariner.
Charlotte scored three runs in the top of the first inning, playing small ball and getting one big shot.
Charlotte got the first two runners on before Tiffany Dodson doubled into the wind in right field to plate both runs. Taylor Kirkus added an RBI single off Mariner pticher Hannah Holloway.
“In the preseason classic, we’d seen some good pitching,” Charlotte coach Greg Higgins said. “Hannah’s a good pitcher, real good pitcher. We knew we had to move the ball, execute and do the little things.”
The Tarpons did the little things right to the tune of 12 hits — nine singles — three walks and three stolen bases. Charlotte also had three sacrifices and a sacrifice fly in the game.
Kaylee Brannon had two hits and scored twice, Dodson had two doubles and three knocked in while Kirkus had a pair of run-scoring singles.
Haley Cabral’s sacrifice fly scored Abby Hayse in the third inning to make it 4-0.
The Tarpons doubled their lead in the fourth. Hayse had an RBI double, Dodson a two-run double, and Kirkus her second run-scoring single.
With an 8-0 lead, Higgins took the opportunity to get more of his players into the game. Julie Dedrick, who pitched the first four innings, gave way to Dodson in the fifth with Cabral covering the final two innings.
The three Charlotte pitchers combined for nine strikeouts, while allowing two hits and three walks.
Cabral and Alyssa Opsahl scored in the seventh for Charlotte’s final two runs.
Mariner picked up its only run in the sixth on a wild pitch.
The Tritons committed three errors, two of which led to Tarpons runs. Charlotte had one error in the game, but made up for it by throwing a Mariner runner out at home on the play.
“When you don’t have those things, it’s a good night,” Higgins said of errors.
“We got a lot of people in, worked all three pitchers, so that’s always good, “Worked a couple of catchers. All in all it was a good night. A good start.”
The Tarpons will be back at it Thursday at North Fort Myers.
“They’re a good team,” Higgins said. “We played them in the preseason. It’ll be a good game.”
CHARLOTTE 10, MARINER 1
Charlotte 301 400 2 — 10 12 1
Mariner 000 001 0 — 1 2 3
WP: Julie Dedrick (1-0); LP: Hannah Holloway (0-1) 2B: (C) Dodson 2, Hayse. SB: (C) Kirkus, Massey, Dodson. S: Hayse, Dodson, Hopper. SF: Cabral.