The Carson High softball team wasn't about to stumble heading into its toughest - and most important - stretch of the season.
Carson had to overcome a 5-2 deficit, but scored 13 unanswered runs over the last two innings in a 15-5 win over South Tahoe on Tuesday at CHS. The game was called after six innings due to the mercy rule.
Playing as the visiting team, the Senators scored five runs in the fifth and eight runs in the sixth.
"I knew we had the bats to come back," Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. "Everybody was starting to get a little nervous. The kids played well."
Carson improved to 12-3 in the Sierra League and stayed in second. The Senators are in a three-way battle for second with Wooster and Douglas.
The Senators have also yet to lock up a playoff spot as one of the league's top four teams. Damonte Ranch came into Tuesday at 7-7 in league and could catch Carson if it stumbles.
Carson's final six games are also among the toughest of the year as they begin a three-game series with one game on Thursday at Wooster and then end the regular season with three games against league leader Reno High. "We're not locked yet," said Vickrey about the playoffs.
Cassie Vondrak was unable to go due to the flu, so Christa Casci started on the mound for Carson. She went three innings before giving way to Nikki Keller, who finished with three shutout innings, allowing just one hit for the win. Vickrey said it's the best he's seen Keller throw since coming back from a knee injury.
"She shut them down," Vickrey said. "She threw as hard as I've seen her throw. She did a good job."
Carson took advantage of eight hits and 12 walks. Carson's leading hitter, Dacey Hassey walked three times, walking once after an 11-pitch at-bat. "She did a good job of working the counts," Vickrey said.
The Senators took a 2-0 lead in the second after Loretta Cagle walked and moved to second on Sarah Evans' sacrifice bunt. Desiree Clampitt followed with an RBI single and another run scored on a fielder's choice.
In the fifth, Rankl and Hassey walked. Cagle worked the count to 3-0. Vickrey said he told her to take the 3-0 pitch and look for something to hit on 3-1. Cagle roped a two-run double on the 3-0 pitch. "It shows you what I know," Vickrey said.
Clampitt also had a two-run double in the rally. In the sixth, Candice Rutledge singled, Evans and Clampitt each had RBI singles, Casci had a two-run double, Kaitlin Burroughs hit an RBI sacrifice fly to deep center field and Casci scored on Rankl's squeeze bunt. Clampitt and Rutledge each had two hits and Rankl added a single.