Locked in a scoreless tie, Damonte Ranch cleanup hitter Kerrigan Travens singled to start the top of the sixth inning. After a sacrifice bunt moved Travens up to second, Mustangs hitter McKenzie Hospodka put a charge into an offering from Reed pitcher Jackie Sertic. The line drive would have gone at least for a double and scored Travens but Reed left fielder Hannah Martini left her feet and made a lunging catch with her outstretched glove hand.
Travens was forced to hold, Hospodka was retired and Sertic went on to retire the next DRHS hitter, thwarting the Mustangs’ rally and any hopes they had of pushing across the go-ahead run.
“Those kind of catches are one of the first things we work on at every practice,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “That was huge. It was a momentum changer.”
Martini’s big catch proved to get the Reed bats going. After being held to two hits through five innings, the Raiders strung together three hits in the bottom of the sixth and scored the game’s lone run.
Reed’s senior leadoff hitter, Cori Gammon, dropped down a bunt single to initiate the Raiders’ threat. Lindsey Yearman followed and got down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Gammon into scoring position at second base. Reed’s No. 3 hitter, junior Mary Dettling, then proceeded to rip a line drive back up the middle that plated Gammon for the game-winning run.
“You couldn’t ask for a better part of your lineup to be due up,” Wunder said. “I wish I could take credit for Cori’s bunt, but she read the defense and laid it down. All of our kids have that green light. And then Lindsey did her job with the sacrifice and Mary is Mary. She got the key hit.”
Shivaun Landeros added a single for Reed in the sixth but she and Dettling were left stranded on the sacks as Reed failed to add an insurance run. Prior to the sixth, Reed’s offense had been limited to the two hits, a Danaya Thompson single in the third and a Dettling single in the fourth. Dettling finished 2-for-3 at the plate for Reed and was the lone Raider with more than one hit.
Sertic went back out in the top of the seventh and set down Damonte Ranch in a 1-2-3 inning, ending the game and recording the pitching victory. Sertic has been solid all year for Reed (19-3, 12-0 Northern 4A), but Thursday’s performance may have been the finest of her spring season. She scattered six Damonte hits in a 10-strikeout, one-walk outing.
“My adrenaline was through the roof,” an ecstatic Sertic said after the game. “The first couple innings, that could’ve been powering me. There were butterflies in my stomach I wanted to pitch so well. I just wanted to win. I didn’t care what the stats looked like.
“I feel like I did have good movement and hit my spots but I had a great defense behind me.”
Reed did not commit an error en route to victory.
The conference clash started a little rocky for Sertic. Damonte Ranch (14-9, 7-4) loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first, but after a meeting in the circle with Reed coaches, Sertic calmed down, struck out the next two Mustangs hitters and got her RHS crew out of the inning unscathed.
“She did a really good job keeping her composure,” Wunder said of his sophomore right-hander. “She worked herself into a little bit of jam in the first inning ... We called timeout, our pitching coach (Todd Cohen) told her not overthrow, hit her spots and get her movement. Then she did.”
Damonte Ranch pitcher Kalyn Paque was the tough-luck loser. She struck out eight without issuing a walk, but was still saddled with the loss.
“She’s great,” Damonte Ranch coach Tierney Cahill said of her junior ace. “She’s extremely accurate and has great control.
“We had the bases loaded in the first with one out and didn’t score. That’s inexcusable, but it happens. The watched third strikes by our hitters were painful to watch.”
Reed travels Saturday for a doubleheader against cross-town rival Spanish Springs at 10 a.m.
“We always have good games against Spanish Springs,” Wunder said. “The kids and parents are friends away from softball. I don’t think either team will put a lot of pressure on themselves. You want to win the league and be a No. 1 seed for the playoffs, but the important thing is to have fun and play loose.