Senators need one win to reach state
RENO – Carson High’s softball team finds itself one game away from reaching next week’s 4A state tournament after splitting two games Friday at the regional tournament at Bishop Manogue High School.
Carson opened play with a 6-5 come-from-behind win over McQueen thanks to a five-run outburst in the fifth inning. In the semifinals, Karlyn Jones of Spanish Springs threw a 1-hitter and struck out 11 as the Cougars rolled to a 10-0 win in a game called after five innings because of the run rule.
The Senators return to the diamond today at 10 a.m. in an elimination game against Damonte Ranch. The winner of that game earns an automatic berth in state which will be played at Hixson Park at the University of Nevada. The winner of the 10 a.m. game would play Spanish Springs at noon.
“We need to get one tomorrow (today),” Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. “There are no second chances. I’m glad to be in the situation we’re in. They’re (Spanish Springs) the real deal. We’ve got to play clean ball and bring the bats (against Damonte Ranch).”
Damonte Ranch won the season series against the Senators. The Mustangs won 7-6 and 18-6, while the Senators had an 8-7 win. Clearly, the Senators aren’t the same team they were back then, and they have a chance to prove that today.
Against McQueen, the Senators made baserunning mistakes in both the first and second innings which cost them a chance to score each time.
In the first Lisa Yamamoto reached on an error and alertly advanced to second. However, she came off the base too far, and the Lancers picked her off. Moriah Lane walked to lead off the second and advanced to second on a single by Lauren Knorzer. Hannah Winder pinch-ran for Lane. Megan Hein followed with a blooper over short. Page Vannoy made a nice catch and then easily doubled Winder off second.
That play loomed large, especially after Daria Leid and Kristin Withrow singled. Vickrey elected to hold Knorzer at third. The throw sailed up the line, and Knorzer would have scored. Had Winder not been doubled up, Carson would have scored at least once. Morgan Kleine left the bases full when she struck out on three pitched by Jordan Lane.
“I asked Lisa if she was trying a delay steal, but she said she wasn’t,” Vickrey said. “She said it was her mistake. I thought the ball (that Hein hit) was going to drop and we could score if Hannah gets a good break on the ball.
“I don’t know if Lauren got a good jump or not. When I was watching them warm up before the game, the throws were on line all the time.”
McQueen broke the scoreless tie in the third, scoring twice against starter Lindsey Ashbaugh, who was removed after yielding a triple, single and double. Daria Leid came on and gave up a run-scoring single before retiring the side.
Carson finally scored in the fifth when Leid hit a slicing liner to right that eluded a diving Danielle Stewart. Leid raced around to third and scored on a single by Withrow to make it 2-1.
That set the stage for a huge fifth inning when Carson exploded for five run on five hits. The Senators knocked lane out of the circle and also treated reliever Hailey Glantz rudely. It was the Senators’ second straight five-run explosion in the tourney. They scored five in the sixth in the win over Reed on Thursday.
After one out, Jocelyn Young singled and advanced to second on a single by Lane. A single by Knorzer loaded the bases. Vickrey inserted senior Natalie Morrow to pinch-hit for Hein. Morrow delivered a long double to left, driving home two and sending Knorzer to third. A sacrifice fly by Leid, a run-scoring double just inside the third-base bag by Withrow and a McQueen error completed the barrage.
This wasn’t the first time that Morrow has stepped up off the bench, but this might have been her biggest hit of the year.
“I was pretty nervous,” Morrow admitted. “I knew the pitcher (Glantz) and she knows what I don’t like because we played together last summer. I’ve been a pitcher, so I watch what they are doing (when I’m on the bench). I use it as a learning opportunity. I’m not sure if it was a rise ball or not. It was pretty high. I know I’m not supposed to look, but I saw it go over her head.”
“We didn’t plan on using her this way, but it’s been her role as of late,” Vickrey said. “Megan’s hand was hurting, so I was looking for somebody that gave us the best chance and I went with the senior.”
Trailing 6-2, McQueen scored two in the sixth and added another in the top of the seventh on a solo homer by Julia Willison before Leid was able to retire the side.
After about a 2 1/2-hour wait, Carson took the field against top-ranked Spanish Springs.
It was over quickly, as the Cougars scored two in the first off Ashbaugh and three more in the second on Jones’ homer off Leid. Christina Gallegos and Morrow both saw action in the circle.
Jones was dominant in the circle. Eleven of the 15 outs came via strikeouts as she faced just one batter over the minimum. Carson helped her out by swinging at a lot of bad pitches.
The only blemish on Jones’ line came in the top of the fifth when Lane reached on an infield single.
“She’s very good,” Lane said. “We did help her out by chasing the rise ball. We have to bring out our best game against Damonte.”