Senator softball routs Damonte Ranch
Appeal Sports Editor
For the Carson High softball team, the pennant race began in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Carson exploded for 10 runs on nine hits in that inning on its way to a 12-2 win over Damonte Ranch on Thursday at CHS. The Senators tied the Mustangs for second in the Sierra League at 14-5.
If Carson can sweep a doubleheader against the Mustangs that begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Damonte Ranch then the Senators will clinch the No. 2 seed into the Northern 4A playoffs.
A split with Damonte would likely mean a three-way tie for second between Carson, the Mustangs and Douglas and the seedings would go to a tiebreaking process. If the Senators are swept, they would finish fourth which would likely mean a date with Mallory Darby and Spanish Springs in the first round of the playoffs.
Carson is now in position to take second thanks to 12 hits over the last two innings and Cassie Vondrak’s complete game effort on the mound.
Senator coach Scott Vickrey said he figured his team would need to score runs based on Damonte being able to score six runs on Tuesday in a 10-6 loss to Reno High. “We knew offensively they were going to be a pretty good squad,” Vickrey said.
Carson was held hitless through the first three innings, but exploded for 10 runs and nine hits in the fourth. Abby Rankl doubled to begin the rally and after Dacey Hassey reached on an error, Kaitlin Burroughs really got the rally going with a two-run double.
Vondrak followed with an RBI single and then Nikki Keller after failing to lay down a bunt, belted a two-run home run to straightaway center field to make it 5-2. It was ironic that Keller homer after her failed bunt attempt because it was the only time in the game that Carson failed in a sacrifice bunt attempt.
Sarah Evans singled, Christa Casci walked and Rankl belted a three-run shot well over the left center fence to make it 8-2. Hassey then tripled, Burroughs hit an RBI single and after Vondrak singled, Burroughs scored on two straight wild pitches to make it 10-2.
“I was really proud because it kind of started us off and everybody started hitting after that,” said Burroughs about her two-run double. “It’s really fun because we’ve been kind of in a slump lately.”
Carson ended the game in the fifth. After Evans and Casci singled, Candice Rutledge followed with a two-run single to end the game.
“The first couple of innings we didn’t hit the ball very well,” Vickrey said. “I figured the second time through we would start hitting it.
“I knew we were capable of doing it. The way we were hitting the ball in practice I was pretty confident. I’m just pretty proud of them.”
Vondrak was able to keep Carson in the game in the first after the bases were loaded and one out. A bunt single, another single and error loaded the bases with one out and Damonte took a 1-0 lead on an infield single. But Vondrak induced a comebacker and began an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play.
“That was a big defensive point,” Vickrey said. “Cassie did a fantastic job. She had pop to her ball.”
Rankl, Vondrak, Burroughs and Evans all had two hits for Carson.
CHS JVS 10, DAMONTE 8
Down 8-1, Carson (15-3-1 in league) scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth on its way to the comeback win.
The turning point came in the third on a hit to left field. Carson’s Lisa Shores threw to third baseman Belen Munoz, who threw to catcher Megan Hein to nail the runner trying to score. Hein then threw back to third to nail the runner trying to advance to third for an inning ending double play.
Munoz had two hits and two RBI, Natalie Morrow had a two-run double, Hein had an RBI triple, Rebecca Gansberg had a double and an RBI, Marcella Watson had a hit and an RBI and Sara Pope scored two runs.
Melissa Coyle finished up, pitching two scoreless innings for the win. She received help from another outstanding play in left from Shores, who was able to make an excellent catch in the last inning.