The Carson High softball team kept pace in the race for second in the Sierra League with a 7-3 win at Hug on Thursday.
Carson (20-6, 13-5) set up a huge three-game series next week with Damonte Ranch. The Senators, Douglas High and Damonte are all in a three-way battle for second. Carson will next play when it begins its series with Damonte at 3:30 p.m. this Thursday at CHS.
"The series with Damonte is going to be pretty crucial," Carson coach Scott Vickrey said.
Nikki Keller started out by pitching four perfect innings on her way to picking up the win and also went 3-for-3 against Hug. Vickrey was pleased that his team banged out 14 hits, but also concerned that it didn't take advantage of all of its chances as the Senators left nine baserunners. "We need to do a better job of sac bunting," he said.
Keller ended up allowing one earned run on two hits over five innings while striking out four and walking one. Daria Leid allowed no earned runs on two hits over the last two innings.
"She did a fantastic job," said Vickrey about Keller. "The pitchers are doing their job. The bats are starting to pick up again. We've just got to fine tune some stuff before zone."
Carson took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Cassie Vondrak walked, Desi Clampitt reached on a bunt single and both eventually scored on Christa Casci's two-run single. In the fifth, Dacey Hassey and Keller singled and Vondrak belted a two-run home run that made it 5-0.
In the sixth after Candice Rutledge singled, Dacey Hassey belted a deep flyball in which it appeared the centerfielder was going to catch. But the centerfielder dropped the ball after colliding with the rightfielder and Rutledge and Hassey ended up scoring on the play.
Rutledge went 3-for-4, Abby Rankl was 2-for-4 and Kaitlin Burroughs added a hit for Carson.