SPARKS - The Carson High softball team showed on Friday afternoon that it does have playoff potential by defeating Wooster 5-0 during the 21st annual Reed Easter Tournament at Shadow Mountain Sports Complex.
Liz Rankl and Jessica Ashbaugh connected for two-run homers in the first inning and Mandy Carvin scattered seven hits over five innings as the Senators improved their record to 2-0 in the tournament's pool play and 4-4-1 overall for the season.
Earlier on Friday, Rankl homered twice and drove in five runs to lead Carson to a 9-1 win against South Tahoe.
"Today was a day when it was all clicking," said Carson coach Scott Vickrey, whose club plays Reed at 9 a.m. this morning. "The team looked as good as I've seen yet."
Beating Wooster was particularly significant because the Senators are looking to compete for one of the Sierra League's four playoff berths, no small achievement because Douglas, Reno, North Valleys, Wooster and Carson all field quality teams.
"I knew Wooster would be a big matchup," Vickrey said. "I told the kids this was going to be a test that would tell us where we stand in the league and whether we have the mettle to get to the playoffs. We play again in a league game after Easter and it should be interesting because Wooster has a lot of talent."
Scoring four runs in the first inning certainly helped the Senators on Friday. Christa Casci walked to lead off the game, then with one out, Rankl hit a long drive to left field for an inside-the-park home run. Moments later, Dacey Hassey walked and Ashbaugh circled the bases on her long ball to center field.
Wooster loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the inning, but Carvin worked out of trouble thanks to a strikeout and pop fly to Jessica Grant at first base. Carvin got another strikeout to end a Wooster threat with two runners aboard in the second, then she retired the side on a full-count strikeout with the bases loaded in the third. The Colts left eight runners stranded in the opening three innings and 11 for the game.
Carvin had seven strikeouts, three walks and one hit batsman en route to her second shutout win in three days. One key for the senior right-hander was throwing first-pitch strikes to 22 of the 29 batters she faced.
"Mandy knows it's important to get up early," Vickrey said of Carvin, who blanked South Tahoe on Wednesday 10-0. "She has worked hard and matured a lot in the last four years and she's doing a great job for us right now."
Yet another Wooster threat was wiped out by Carson's defensive execution in the fourth. With one out and the speedy Danielle Ming on first, Angela Picollo reached base on an infield hit. When Ming tried to take third on the play, second baseman Jamie Yenter threw a strike across the diamond to Hassey, Carson's catcher who had come up the line to cover third.
"Dacey really hustled up the line," Vickrey said. "I thought that play broke their back. We didn't get the call at first, but instead of having runners on first and third with one out and (No. 3 hitter) Jaci Millsap coming up, they had a runner on first with two outs."
After the first inning, Wooster's Millsap only allowed five more hits and one unearned run. Carson scored its final run in the sixth on singles by Grant and Cascia coupled with a throwing error.
CARSON 9, SOUTH TAHOE 1
Casci pitched three-hit ball over five innings to earn her first varsity win. The freshman struck out one, walked one and retired 12 batters on ground ball outs.
Rankl connected for two- and three-run homers to lead Carson offensively. Rankl and Hassey connected for back-to-back home runs to highlight a five-run fifth.
"Liz had a great day," Vickrey said of Rankl's three home runs. "If we had been playing in our park, all three of those balls would have been over the fence."
Ashbaugh also hit 2-for-3 with a double and Candice Rutledge 1-for-1 with a triple.
South Tahoe scored its run in the fourth on singles from Cassie Smith and Shaylene McLaughlin.
GALENA 7, FALLON 7
The High Desert League rivals battled into extra innings before the game was called on the tournament's time limit.
Galena took a 7-6 lead in the top of the eighth when Megan Molinari singled to score Brianna Bullentini. Fallon answered in the bottom half of the eighth on Blair Humphrey's RBI single.
Alicia Kraft hit 3-for-4 with a triple, Kaitlin Porter 3-for-4 with a two-run triple, Molinari 2-for-5 and Justin Sargent 2-for-4 to lead Galena offensively. Sargent pitched the distance for the Grizzlies.
Fallon's Michelle Beach hit 3-for-4, Humphrey 3-for-4 with one RBI, Dani Harvey 2-for-4 with one RBI and Kloei Humphrey hit a two-run single in the sixth for Fallon. Harvey pitched all the way for Fallon.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.