Cole keeps Dust Devil hopes alive
RENO – Thanks to the strong right arm of Mackenzie Cole, the Dayton High softball team is still alive in the NIAA 3A state softball tournament.
Cole, after losing a 2-0 heartbreaker to Boulder City, pitched a six-hitter to beat Lowry 1-0 on Friday afternoon at Bishop Manogue High School.
Dayton will play at 10 a.m. today against Spring Creek, which lost to Boulder City, 3-1. Dayton will have to win three straight games to win the tournament.
Cole struck out 21 and walked three in her 13 innings of work on the day. Dayton coach Daven Passalacqua knew he would need that type of performance this weekend.
“We did know we needed to rely on Mackenzie,” he said. “Our bats aren’t working. At the beginning of the season we knew we would have a lot of one-run games.”
The lack of offense by the Dust Devils does put pressure on Cole, but she welcomes it.
“I actually like it,” Cole said. “Being able to talk to the girls and pick them up when they need it.
“I think I did pretty well. We need to execute with our hitting (today).”
Cole, who fanned 13 in the win over Lowry, worked out of several jams throughout the game. Whenever she needed to make a big pitch, she was up to the task.
In the first, two bunt singles and a stolen base put runners at second and third with one out. Cole fanned Hanna Etcheverry and opposing pitcher Dani Chavez to end the threat.
Dayton finally broke through in the top of the fourth against Chavez.
With one out, Natasha Wells singled to right, moved to second on Cole’s bunt single and moved to third on a passed ball. Cheyanna Burrows followed with a comebacker. Wells roared home, as Chavez’s throw sailed past the catcher. Cole also tried to score, but was tagged out by Chavez at the plate. Burrows also was thrown out trying to take an extra base.
The two outs on the play cost Dayton a chance to get an insurance run or two.
Lowry got a runner to third in the fourth with two outs, but Cole came back with another strikeout. The Buckaroos threatened again in the seventh when a bunt single by Virginia Castillo and a single by Angie Herrera put runners on second and third with two outs. Cole came up big again, striking out Madi Gonzalez to end the game.
Dayton managed just three hits against Chavez, one each by Crystal MacGirvin, Cole and Wells.
In the opening loss to Boulder City, Cole allowed two unearned runs in the third inning and her only hit to Melissa Stewart.
The second run of the inning never should have scored. Dayton made a costly mental mistake with two outs. Cole fielded a comebacker and instead of throwing to first elected to throw home. Her throw was in plenty of time to retire the runner, but Wells, thinking it was a force situation, failed to tag the runner.
“I think Mackenzie was thinking short throw instead of long throw,” Passalaqua said. “Natasha just forgot how many baserunners were on.”
Cross and MacGirvin led Dayton with two hits apiece.