The Carson High softball team now finds itself in a little bit more of a pickle as far as the Sierra League playoff race is concerned.
Carson was involved in three "pickles" or rundowns in its opener of a doubleheader on Friday at home against Reno and all three went against the Senators. As a result, Sierra League front runner Reno won the opener 1-0 and went on to win the nightcap 12-1.
The Senator's Mandy Carvin and Reno's Stephanie Shuman were involved in a pitchers' duel in the opener, with Shuman barely coming out on top.
"Unbelievable," said Carson coach Scott Vickrey about the opener. "It was probably the best game I've seen played. Mandy Carvin pitched an excellent game. Shuman pitched an excellent game."
If Carson had been able to win the opener, it would have opened up some breathing room in the Northern 4A playoff race. The Senators travel to Damonte Ranch on Tuesday and then have a key league game at North Valleys on Thursday.
Carson (14-10-1) can virtually assure itself a playoff spot with a win at North Valleys as both teams are 6-6 in league. A loss wouldn't eliminate the Senators, but it would put them in a precarious position heading into a regular season ending doubleheader at Douglas a week from today.
The significance of next week was demonstrated when Vickrey called for a practice at 8 a.m. today.
In the opener, Carvin was able to scatter seven hits while Shuman held Carson to four hits.
Dacey Hassey had two of the hits as she reached on a single in the fourth inning and eventually reached third on Kaitlin Burroughs' sacrifice. It appeared that Hassey would score on an apparent passed ball when she broke for the plate.
But the ball hit the umpire's shin guard and Hassey ended up in a rundown and was out at the plate. Carson thought that Reno's catcher had obstructed Hassey's path to the plate, but to no avail.
Carson is now 1-1 in "obstruction" games. The Senators received the benefit of an obstruction call that helped them pull off an improbable rally for a key win against Wooster.
In the fifth, Carson caught a Reno runner in a rundown and had her out at the plate, but the ball squirted out of Carvin's glove when she made the tag.
In the seventh, Hassey singled, went to second on Jessica Ashbaugh's sacrifice and to third on an error. But the umpire called Hassey out on the "look back," rule as he ruled that Hassey was off the base while Shuman was in the circle and looked her back.
Jamie Yenter then flew to right field, but instead of a game-tying fly, it was a game-ending fly. Liz Rankl and Ashbaugh had Carson's other hits.
Vickrey admitted that the wind was taken out of Carson's sails for the nightcap. "We felt like we got punched in the stomach," he said.
Rankl doubled, stole third and scored Carson's only run on an overthrow. Hassey also singled. Christi Casci went the distance on the mound for Carson.
DAMONTE RANCH 1, DAYTON 0
Nicole Greer was the tough luck loser, going the distance before giving up the winning run in the bottom of the 11th. Greer struck out 11 and walked just one and had one of Dayton's four hits. Lauren Fisher, Melony Cox and Gina Henderson had the other hits.