The Raiders fell 7-4 to Centennial in the second game of the championship series at the 4A State Softball Tournament Saturday morning and had to watch the Bulldogs celebrate their second Nevada large school title in the past six years.
Reed lost its first-round state tourney tilt Friday and had to win two loser-out games to even earn the right to face Centennial. The Raiders then dumped Centennial, which was previously unbeaten in the tournament, 7-0 to force the second game of the championship series.
"I'll never forget this group and their ability to come back," Reed coach Ray Charles said. "You saw it in regionals and state. That's asking a lot of the kids to do that and this group definitely had guts. They are a phenomenal team. They came up short today but they fought their tails off and I'm proud of them."
Centennial, which also won the state softball title in 2004, is the only southern Nevada school to win a softball crown since 1993.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the top of the 11th inning to finally put Reed down. Reed reliever Chelsea Cohen retired the first two Bulldogs of the inning, but then gave up back-to-back singles before a two-run Kylie Bartlett double. A single by Katie Lee brought Bartlett home for the third run of the eleventh.
Centennial had scored a trio of unearned runs in the top of the eighth inning to go up 4-1 only to see Reed pull into a 4-4 deadlock and force more extra frames when junior first baseman Kristy Pasley crushed a game-tying three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. Erica McKenzie and Brooke Silva reached ahead of Pasley after reaching on an error and walking.
"When Kristy hit the three-run homer I definitely felt like we had a great opportunity to win," Charles said. "To tie it up with two outs in that situation was huge. I definitely thought we had the momentum at that point."
Reed's senior leader, Cohen, had similar sentiments.
"We all just knew," she said. "We have such big hearts. We really wanted to it so bad. We really believed we would win so it's sad to see the outcome be different."
The Bulldogs looked to have the game won with their rally in the top of the eighth. They scored their trio of runs thanks to three Reed errors and three singles. The three errors all came before the hits and all three runners who reached via the RHS miscues crossed the plate.
"Obviously, if we make a couple plays here or there it could've helped," Charles said. "I always tell the kids in these kind of games whoever cracks first is going to win. That kind of put us on our heels and we didn't rebound after that. We didn't get many breaks but we didn't do anything to help ourselves either."
Centennial, which also won a state title in girls basketball in February, put pressure on the Raiders throughout the second championship game of the double-elimination tournament. The northwest Las Vegas school took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Bulldogs leadoff hitter Paige Reese singled and moved to second on Bartlett's sacrifice bunt. She scored after singles by Lee and Johnna Brown.
That was all the offense Centennial could muster until the eighth inning.
Reed tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Alex Corona hit a bunt that bounced high in front of the plate. Bartlett, playing catcher for Centennial, picked up the ball and fired it wide of first base. The ball sailed all the way to the right-field fence and Corona circled the sacks for a score and a 1-1 tie.
"Ray told me to lay a bunt down. I did it as soon as he told me," Corona said. "When I was running to first base I saw (coach) Joyce (Cathy). She said round it and go to second. Then I was looking for Ray (Charles coaching third base). He said go all the way home. I kind of figured they overthrew it. I knew I had to do something so I just kept going. That was really exciting. I was glad I could pick my team up.
"Now, it's all over. It's tougher than I thought it would be, a lot tougher."
Sophomore Destinee Levesque started in the circle for Reed and worked the first eight innings. She scattered six hits while striking out four and not issuing a walk. She gave up four runs, but just one was earned.
Cohen came on in relief to work the final three innings for Reed. The Raiders' ace right-hander took the pitching loss.
"It's hard to lose this way because there were some plays that we make most of the time. The other team just happened to take advantage," she said. "There were so many things that could've been different. One opportunity either way could've changed it. We just have to tip our hats to them and let them know they did a good job."
•Reed forced the extra game with its 7-0 romp. Cohen was the star of the show. She struck out 10 against zero walks with a three-hit complete-game shutout victory. In addition, she crushed a pair of home runs, a solo shot in the second and a three-run bomb in the fifth.
The Raiders took a 1-0 lead into the fourth but tacked on two runs. Cohen and Tess Oliphant both scored after reaching on a walk and fielder's choice. Pasley and Chivaun Landeros had the run-scoring singles.
Leading 3-0, the Raiders broke the game open in the fifth thanks in large part to Cohen's dinger. Brooke Silva also had an RBI single in the inning.
•Reed got into the championship series by beating Shadow Ridge 3-2 Saturday morning. Shadow Ridge had dropped Reed into the losers' bracket a day earlier.
Less than 24 hours after getting one-hit by Mustangs' ace Mandy Harmon, Reed got to her for six hits. The Raiders scored two runs in the second and another in the fourth to account for their offensive damage. Pasley ripped a solo home run in the fourth.
Levesque picked up the pitching win against Shadow Ridge, striking out six and walking none. She retired the first 16 Mustangs to make plate appearances and allowed only two hits. Both of the Shadow Ridge runs came in the bottom of the seventh and were unearned.