Douglas eliminates Carson softball |

Douglas eliminates Carson softball

Appeal Sports Writer

The softball season ended a day earlier than the Carson High coaching staff and players had hoped.

After opening the Northern Nevada 4A Regional Tournament with a 10-run win over defending state champion McQueen on Thursday, Carson had planned on making some more noise on Friday in the double-elimination event.

The Senator offense was nowhere to be found, however. The Senators managed just nine total hits in losing 10-0 to Spanish Springs and 8-4 to Douglas at Carson High School.

Carson, which finished second in the Sierra League to Reno, ended its season with a 23-8 record, and said farewell to six seniors, most notably Dacey Hassey, Candice Rutledge and Kaitlin Burroughs, who have been instrumental in the Senators’ success the past couple of years.

The cupboard isn’t bare, however, as catcher Abby Rankl, pitchers Cassie Vondrak, Nikki Keller, and Daria Leid will return along with shortstop Christa Casci.

“Defensively, we’ll be almost as strong next year,” Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. “Offensively we have some work to do. Rut (Candice Rutledge), Dacey and Kaitlin were key for us.

“We may have used up our hits from yesterday. It was a tough day; a long day. We were really high yesterday against McQueen and coming into today. Playing Spanish Springs is like playing the Yankees. It’s hard to pitch around anybody, and we weren’t going to let Amanda (Collier) beat us.”

Collier walked three times before driving in two runs with a double in the fifth, but her teammates more than picked up the slack.

Ashley Decker went 3-for-4 with an inside-the-park homer, Courtney Darby hit a solo homer and added a sacrifice fly, and Danielle Ming, Jaci Carlson and Jen Martinson all had two hits.

The Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the first when Ming singled to right, moved to second on Decker’s bunt single, to third on a passed ball and scored on Carlsen’s bunt single. Collier drew an intentional walk and Jen Martinson was hit by a Keller pitch to force home the second run.

Spanish Springs made it 3-0 in the third when Darby hit a line drive homer over the center field fence.

That was more than enough, but the Cougars added two in the fourth and five in the fifth to end the game on the 10-run rule.

Carson’s offense was shut down by Annalee Rubio, who allowed only four baserunners the entire game, two on hits and two on walks. She struck out six.

The closest Carson came to scoring was the third when Sarah Evans and Casci singled after two outs. Rubio retired Rutledge on a fly to right to end the inning.

Against Douglas, the Senators led 4-3 after four innings, but Douglas stormed back with three in the fifth off Vondrak and two in the seventh off Keller to eliminate its arch-rivals.

The trio of Emily Weaver, Mackenzie Cauley and Lauren Hoppe carried the offensive load, going a combined 9-for-11 with seven runs and three RBI. Cauley went 4-for-4, Hoppe 3-for-4 and Weaver 2-for-3.

“We did a good job of hitting the ball on the ground and hitting it hard,” Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. “We’ve worked on getting our hands above the ball and putting the ball in play. Our speed put some pressure on them.”

Of Douglas’ 11 hits, four were of the infield variety.

Weaver started the fifth with an infield hit and moved to second on a single to left by Cauley. Hoppe followed with a single, scoring Weaver for a 4-4 tie. Tisha Luken followed with a foul fly ball to right. Sarah Evans made a nice grab, but airmailed her throw over the head of Leid at third base, allowing Cauley to score and Hoppe to take third. Katrina Morgan drove in Hoppe with a groundball to second base to make it 6-4.

The aforementioned trio was at it again in the seventh.

Weaver reached on another infield hit, moved to second on Cauley’s single and scored on Hoppe’s single. Cauley reached third on the play, and Hoppe advanced to second on the attempt to throw out Cauley, who scored moments later.

The four-run cushion was more than enough for winning pitcher Stephanie Harper, who scattered seven hits and fanned eight, easily retiring Carson in the seventh. Over the final three innings, she allowed just a single by Hassey in the seventh.

“Steph kept the ball moving,” Mitchell said. “She definitely moved it around.”

“When we played against Douglas in the (Susanville) tournament, we got after her pretty hard,” Vickrey said. “When it came time to play them in league, she started to hit her spots. She was locating very well today.”

Especially after Carson went ahead 4-3 on a two-run double by Evans and an error.