RENO - Nicole Ellis outdueled Mandy Carvin and helped herself at the plate with a first-inning run-scoring double to spark North Valleys to a 4-0 win over Carson in a Sierra League softball game Thursday afternoon.
North Valleys clinched third place, improving to 8-7 in the process. Carson dropped to 6-7 and fell into a fourth-place tie with Wooster. Carson plays at Douglas today at 1 p.m. doubleheader and Wooster plays Reno in a season-ending doubleheader Saturday.
If Wooster and Carson remain tied at the end of the weekend, Carson would advance to next week's zone playoffs at Carson based on its 2-1 season edge over the Colts.
North Valleys collected eight hits off Carvin, who fanned six and walked one. Carvin yielded a run in the first and three in the fifth. Two of the runs in the fifth were unearned. The critical error was a one-out miscue by second baseman Jamie Yenter which could have led to a double play.
"She (Carvin) pitched pretty well," Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. "She was on top of her game."
So was Ellis, who allowed just four hits. The Panthers' right-hander fanned five and walked one. Her ability to locate on the inside portion of the plate made it tough for the Senators to make contact.
"She pitched a great game," Vickrey said. "She was intimidating."
Carson had two runners thrown out at the plate. Dacey Hassey was thrown out at home on a two-out groundball to third base, and Liz Rankl was thrown out at home trying to score after an infield out in the sixth.