Carson batters Reed ace in playoff opener, face McQueen today at noon
RENO – Carson High’s softball team had its hitting shoes on Thursday afternoon much to the chagrin of Reed ace Destinee Levesque.
The Senators pounded Levesque for 13 hits en route to an 8-5 win over the favored Raiders in the opening round of the NIAA 4A Regional tournament at Bishop Manogue High School.
The win pushed Carson into a winner’s bracket game at noon today against McQueen, a 5-4 upset winner over Douglas, the regular-season Sierra League champion. McQueen beat Carson during the Reed Easter tournament in April.
It’s the first time in Scott Vickrey’s tenure that the Senators have won their opening round contest.
“Our team has been strong with the bats all season,” Vickrey said. “We went after kids that could swing the bat and fit the defense around that. The bats are progressing at the right time.”
And, it wasn’t just one or two players doing the damage. Emily Collins went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Moriah Lane went 2-for-4, Lauren Knorzer went 2-for-4, Megan Hein went 2-for-4 and Christa McGahuey went 2-for-2.
McGahuey was just brought up from the JV squad. She led off the fifth inning with a long double to right, went to third on a passed ball and scored on Collins’ infield single to tie the game at 3.
A fielding error by Collins and a throwing error by Hein enabled Reed to push across an unearned run against Daria Leid in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-3 lead.
That set the stage for a five-run sixth, which enabled the Senators to take an 8-4 lead, and once again McGahuey came up with a clutch run-scoring hit.
Lane, who led off Carson’s two-run second with a single up the middle, drove the ball to the base of the fence in right-centerfield for a single. She advanced to second on Knorzer’s single. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Leid walked to load the bases. Kristin Withrow followed with a sacrifice fly to left, tying the game at 4.
McGahuey singled home Knorzer for a 5-4 lead and then Collins delivered a crushing two-run double off the glove of centerfielder Mary Dettling, who was unable to hold on to the ball after a long run.
After Lisa Yamamoto reached on an error, Jocelyn Young delivered a run-scoring double to make it 8-4. Lane, who started the barrage, fanned to end the inning.
McGahuey was obviously happy that she was able to make a contribution so quickly.
“I just wanted to hit the ball and be relaxed,” said McGahuey. “I kind of thought I might get a chance today because of the way I hit the ball in practice (Wednesday).
“I felt like I wasn’t that great (when I didn’t stay up with the varsity). There were too many girls at the positions that I played.”
Vickrey said talent was never the issue with McGahuey.
“We knew she was varsity material from day one,” the Carson coach said. “We had a lot of pitchers and our outfield was pretty solid. We wanted her to work everyday in the circle and get at-bats.
“For her to get two hits is big. I wanted to give Morgan (Kleine) a shot to see if she could handle the faster pitching. She got a single that first time up, but I think we worked it the right way.”
Leid, who relieved starter Lindsey Ashbaugh in the third inning, allowed two baserunners in the bottom of the sixth on a walk and hit batsman, which came on an 0-2 change-up.
Reed threatened in the seventh, slicing the lead to 8-5 on Dettling’s single. Dettling reached second on the play when Young bobbled the ball in left. Leid fanned Laura Frost to end the game.
“Everything was pretty much working,” said Leid, who missed several games with a back injury toward the end of the season. “I just felt good. A few of the pitches I slipped. I was a little surprised I went in so soon. Coach Vickrey gave me an inning warning, so I was able to throw (in the bullpen).”
“They (Reed) were getting close to the third time around the order,” Vickrey said. “The big girl (Kristy Pasley) hit one out. They were starting to hit the ball hard, and I had five pitchers in the dugout ready to throw.”