Carson softball to enter the big-time |

Carson softball to enter the big-time

ByCharles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Coach Jon Grant celebrates with Carson's Abby Rankl after she got the game-winning hit in Thursday's 13-3 zone victory over McQueen.

Be careful of what you ask for. For the Carson High softball team, today is SS-Day, Spanish Springs Day.

Since really the end of last season, the Senators have had a goal of reaching the upper echelon of the Northern 4A. Carson took its first step to becoming one of the Northern 4A’s elite teams by handling two-time state defending champion McQueen 13-3 on Thursday in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs.

Carson’s reward is to face the Northern 4A favorite, Spanish Springs, an 8-2 winner over Damonte Ranch, at noon today at CHS.

“We worked all year to seed as high as we can,” Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. “We knew we were going to face Spanish Springs at some point and time.”

Cassie Vondrak pitched a complete game for Carson, allowing two earned runs as she made one mistake, allowing a two-run home run to Heather Bochenski that gave McQueen a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

“Cassie pitched a great game but I don’t think she was totally, totally on,” Vickrey said. “She was 95 percent.

“She wasn’t 100 percent. But she shut them down in the key situations and that’s what we needed.”

Carson didn’t waste any time coming back as the Senators tied the score 2-2 in the bottom of the second. Nikki Keller doubled and Daria Leid and Sarah Evans followed with RBI singles to make it 2-2.

Evans continued to be an unsung hero for Carson hitting from the No. 9 spot, going 4-for-4 with two bunt singles. Another key to the win was Carson’s ability to execute small ball as it was able to execute all four of its bunt attempts.

“No. 9 hitters, generally they don’t really get much respect,” Evans said. “I just try to get on base and try to fool them.”

In the third after Dacey Hassey reached on an error, Kaitlin Burroughs reached on a bunt single and when the ball was booted away, both runners moved up to second and third. Keller followed by popping the ball up, but the ball landed behind second base on the outfield grass for an RBI single that gave Carson a 3-2 lead.

McQueen scored an unearned run in the fourth to tie the game 3-3, but after that it was all Carson. In the bottom of the fourth, Leid walked and Evans reached on a bunt single.

After Christa Casci’s sacrifice bunt, Candice Rutledge followed with a two-run single. After Abby Rankl walked, Hassey hit an RBI single to make it 6-3. In the fifth after Keller walked and Evans reached on a bunt single, Casci had an RBI single to make it 7-3.

Carson ended the game in the sixth. Burroughs singled and after Keller and Vondrak walked, Leid reached on an RBI single. Evans hit another popfly that again landed behind second base in the outfield grass for an RBI single.

Casci walked to force in a run, Rutledge hit an RBI single and Rankl ended the game by drilling a shot to the right centerfield fence that officially went as a walk-off, two-run single, giving Carson the 13-3 win.

Rankl had two hits, including a double, and Keller, Leid, Hassey, Casci and Rutledge all had two hits.

“It’s amazing,” said Evans about beating the two-time defending state champion. “it feels really good to 10-run rule them. I’m really proud of our team. We really came together.”

“It’s going to be tough,” Evans also said about facing Spanish Springs. “We’re going to be really pumped up.”