“Honestly, I’ve been on Reed’s varsity for four years and I’ve never pitched against Spanish Springs,” Landeros said. “I’ve been waiting for this game I feel like my whole life. When I found out we were playing them I asked coach ‘Can I please have this game tomorrow. I want it and I know I can do it,’ and he said ‘Okay, don’t disappoint me.’ I just wanted it so bad and I knew that I could do it.”
Taking the circle, Landeros did little to disappoint her coach or her teammates as the senior pitched a two-hit shutout, leading Reed to a 2-0 victory over the Cougars which eliminated Spanish Springs and put the Raiders into the Northern 4A final along with a slot saved at state.
“Her stuff was working really well,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “Her drop ball was working and they were chasing. She hasn’t thrown all year, so that could have been a blessing in disguise for her because her arm is fresh coming off her injury. She just had it going. I wasn’t sure if two runs were going to hold against Spanish Springs, but she was throwing well.”
In the bottom of the first inning, senior Cori Gammon started things off for the Blue and Gold with a walk. Fellow senior Hannah Martini followed with a single before Gammon stole third to put runners on the corners. Spanish Springs’ freshman pitcher Ally Batastini then got two outs but was unable to get out of the jam unscathed as a passed ball allowed Gammon to touch home for the early 1-0 RHS edge.
The Raiders added another run to their lead the next inning. A walk to senior Makaela Moore again got things rolling for Reed. Kiara Shirley, pinch running for Moore, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before sophomore Marriah Levesque sent her around the bases with a single through the middle.
“Our offense did a great job of executing,” Wunder said. “They took advantage of some opportunities when they had them. They made some miscues and we took advantage.
Two runs would be all the offense the Raiders would need as the Purple and Silver just couldn’t find their bats.
The Cougs had plenty of chances to push runners across the plate, but never cashed in. Stranding a runner in both the first and third innings, Spanish Springs saw its best prospects of getting on the scoreboard come and go in the fourth inning.
With one out in the frame, two Reed errors put sophomore Myrissa Prince and junior Sidney Sinclair on first and second, respectively. A fielder’s choice then moved the Cougar pair both into scoring position, but Landeros induced a groundout to end the threat.
Still down by two heading into the final three outs of its season, Spanish Springs (25-10) again put a scare into the Raiders. An error on a groundball hit by Batastini and an infield single from junior Kelsey Stroshine put the tying run on the base paths. After two pop outs, the duo pulled off a double steal, putting Stroshine 120 feet from knotting up the game. Unfortunately for the Spanish Springs faithful, Reed senior Andi Lee made a sliding catch in foul territory to end the game and eliminate the Cougars.
“The last couple of games we just didn’t take advantage of opportunities,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “We had runners in scoring position with the right people up and Shivaun made us hit her pitch and got us out. They got us out on their pitches. We had numerous opportunities to score and we just didn’t come through today. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t capitalize on those. You have to give credit to Reed. They earned it this year.”
While the loss was tough, Davidson said he had fun with his group this season.
“I’ve had some real close knit teams in the past, but this team by far has been the closest group of girls,” he said. “We never had any problems or drama. They all supported each other. It was a total team effort this year. It’s disappointing for us but we’ll come back and we’ll battle and we’ll be ready.”
As the Cougars packed their bags, Reed geared up for its title tilt with Damonte Ranch immediately afterward. In a wild roller-coaster game, the Mustangs outlasted RHS, grabbing the Northern 4A Region crown with a 4-3 win in eight innings.
Playing the role of visitors this time around, Reed found itself down 2-1 heading into its final at-bats in the top of the seventh.
Levesque and Moore led things off with back-to-back singles for the Raiders before a sac bunt moved the pair into scoring position. With two down, a passed ball made Levesque start and stop at third base, but a pinch-running Shirley had already taken off for third from second. As Shirley barely slid safely back into second, Levesque went for home but was cut down at the plate, ending the game. Or so it seemed. Huddling in a circle, the umpires convened and overturned the out, calling Levesque safe and leaving the game tied at 2-2.
After Reed sophomore Jackie Sertic retired the side in the bottom half of the frame, the Raiders took the lead in the eighth. Gammon again led off things for Reed then moved to second with a sac bunt. A routine grounder from junior Mary Dettling back to the pitcher seemed harmless, but Gammon took off for third on the throw to first and the return throw to catch her went into left field, giving her a free path to home and handing the Raiders a 3-2 advantage.
The lead didn’t last long. Stepping to the dish, Damonte junior Kalyn Paque sent a 1-2 offering over the scoreboard in left field for a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3 and knock Sertic out of the game. Megan Dettling then walked a Mustangs’ batter and gave up a single before a passed ball moved the runners to up to second and third and she was pulled in favor of Landeros.
The move proved too late for the Raiders as the table was set for Damonte. After Landeros issued a groundout, Mustangs freshman Jasmine Chappell sent a single into left field to plate Chanel Bates and end the game at 4-3.
“That’s what the fans pay their $7 for,” Wunder said of the up-and-down game. “We’re not going to be disappointed about going eight innings and going back and forth. We had some injuries and had to move some kids around. I’m proud of them and it’s to be continued next week. I hope we have a rematch next Saturday.”
Megan Dettling led the top off the sixth off with a rocket over the left-field wall on the first pitch she saw, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. The Mustangs tied the game with three straight singles in the bottom of the sixth, capped by an RBI from Kerrigan Travens. A passed ball then allowed Paque to score the 2-1 go-ahead run.
Dettling had come into the game for an injured Laura Frost, who left the game after catching a cleat just below her right eye while tagging out a stealing Damonte runner. Frost received five stitches but should be clear for the RHS lineup for state.
Reed (30-6) will open the state tournament on Thursday against the No. 1 seed from the south. First pitch is set for 9 a.m.
“We need to stay loose,” Wunder said about next week. “We need to continue to have fun and get a good week of practice in. We need to work on our hitting. I think overall our hitting for the tournament probably wasn’t as good as what we’d expect, but when you’re playing the top eight teams, you’re going to see better pitchers. We just need to refocus on our offense.”