The victory over McQueen earned the Blue and Gold the opportunity to face off against Damonte Ranch on Friday, but following a 4-0 loss to the Mustangs the Raiders found themselves treading water with their heads just above the surface as they were left clinging to life in the double-elimination tourney.
Losing to Damonte dropped the east-Sparks school into the loser’s bracket where it met Galena in an elimination game. The Raiders outlasted the Grizzlies, hanging on to take a 2-1 victory. One win away from advancing to the loser’s bracket final, Reed once again squared off against the Lancers, this time around earning a 3-0 win thus resuscitating the Raiders’ state dreams for at least one more game.
“In all the years that I’ve been associated with Reed softball, we’ve never taken the easy route,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “We’ve always dropped a game somewhere and had to drop down into the losers’ bracket. We’ve battled back before and we’ve had some success. In 2009, we came out on Saturday morning and won three straight to win a regional championship, so that’s our message: It’s not over. They have to believe in themselves and work, and that’s where we’re at. We picked up two wins this afternoon and we’re happy with that. We’re not playing our best softball so if that shows up tomorrow, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Having already battled in two close contests, the third game did little to stray from the norm.
Reed jumped out first against the Lancers in the bottom of the first inning.
Senior Cori Gammon led the frame off with a single. A fielder’s choice followed by a sacrifice bunt moved Gammon to third, where Shivaun Landeros brought her home with a single to right field.
Still holding a slight 1-0 advantage, the Raiders added another run to their total in the bottom of the third inning with the aid of a McQueen error. A groundball off the bat of junior Mary Dettling ended up behind the first baseman on an errant throw, giving her a free path to second base. Mary Dettling then advanced to third on a fielder’s choice before coming home on a passed ball for a 2-0 RHS lead.
Neither team managed much offense the rest of the way until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Reed tacked on one more run.
Gammon again sparked the Reed offense with a leadoff single to center field before she swiped second and third. With a runner on third and no outs, the Raiders eventually got Gammon home on a check swing from Landeros that the Lancers misplayed, leaving the scoreboard reading 3-0 in favor of the Raiders.
McQueen attempted to put together a comeback rally in the top of the seventh, but its efforts fell flat.
Lancer senior Jessica Bacon started things off for McQueen, reaching base safely on a Reed error. An infield single off the bat of junior Danielle Stewart put a pair on the bases, followed by an out at first base that left two in scoring position. Unfortunately for the Lancers, Reed sophomore pitcher Jackie Sertic refused to see her season end and closed out the game with a strikeout and a pop out for the win.
Reed (29-5) was sent to the loser’s bracket after watching Damonte Ranch use two deep blasts to grab the victory.
Through three innings, zeroes remained on the scoreboard for both sides. Up until the fourth frame, the Mustangs had not reached base via a hit, but that all changed when junior Chanel Bates stepped into the batter’s box with a runner on base and sent a laser over the outfield fence for a 2-0 Damonte advantage. The Mustangs had little time to quiet their celebrating as junior Makenzie Hospodka sent a solo shot deep for back-to-back jacks and a 3-0 lead.
Damonte added another run in the top of the fifth to bring the score to 4-0, but it proved unnecessary as the Raiders could get little offense going against the Mustangs ace Kalyn Paque, mustering just three hits and four runners in the contest.
“The first game was a tough one,” Wunder said. “We had a no-hitter going into the fourth inning. Megan (Dettling) had some good pitches and they hit some good pitches. With two swings of the bat, they made it a different game. We’ve had some close games against Damonte and we expected another one. We just didn’t do our job.”
After the defeat, the Raiders bounced back and squeaked out a 2-1 victory over Galena in their first elimination game of the day.
Scoreless through three, Reed took advantage of three Grizzlies errors and got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning when pinch runner Kiara Shirley touched home for a 1-0 RHS edge. The Raiders added another run in the bottom of the sixth on two more Galena errors as Mary Dettling singled home Hannah Martini with the bases full.
The run proved crucial as the Grizzlies put a pair of runners in scoring position with two down. A passed ball on a walk plated one run, but with runners on the corners, Sertic entered the game for Landeros in the circle with a 3-0 count and saved the win with a quick stab of a comebacker.
“Jackie’s done that before. She’s pitched some big games. She’s pitched some big outs in big innings,” Wunder said. “I think that kid has some ice in her veins. She’s just a tough pitcher and she fields her position well. She made a nice grab. I just told her, ‘Get us an out,’ and she did that.”
Sertic earned the save in Game 2 while Landeros took the win in the first RHS victory. Megan Dettling was saddled with the loss against the Mustangs.
Reed will now face cross-town rival Spanish Springs today at Manogue with a trip to state and a shot at the Northern 4A championship on the line. First pitch set for 10 a.m.
“To tell you the truth, we got two wins this afternoon, but we’re nowhere near playing the type of softball that we’re capable of,” Wunder said. “We’re just hoping it shows up tomorrow. If it shows up tomorrow, anything can happen. We’re just going to take it one game at a time. Our main goal is to win Game 1 and qualify for state. Anything after that is a bonus. It’ll be a tough matchup against Spanish Springs and we’re not going to look past them at all. They’re a solid team and they scored a lot of runs today.
“If we’re going to win we need a solid pitching performance, solid defense behind that and we need to generate some offense and manufacture some runs. Whoever we play probably isn’t going to give up a lot of hits so we have to take advantage of those opportunities when we have them.”