A solid pitching performance by sophomore Jackie Sertic and one lethal swing of the bat by senior Shivaun Landeros were pretty much enough to carry Reed into the winners’ bracket.
Reed’s unease in its first postseason game of the spring season reared its head in the form of three defensive errors. That’s a rarity for the usually sure-handed RHS club.
“I’m always happy to have a win,” second-year Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “But we have to play better if we want to win our next game. I didn’t think we’d come in tight, but we did. The flip side of that is we need to come back tomorrow, start over and play a new game.”
Reed, the tournament’s top seed, was locked in a pitchers’ duel with tourney No. 8 seed McQueen through the first four-plus innings of their tourney tilt, which was played at Bishop Manogue High School.
The two teams were deadlocked in a scoreless tie with two outs in the bottom of the fourth when Reed finally found some offense. Raiders No. 3 hitter Mary Dettling singled and Landeros stepped in next. She proceeded to turn the first pitch she saw from McQueen ace Jordan Lane into a screamer that cleared the fence in center field on a line.
“I think she threw me a drop ball. It was inside,” Landeros said. “I was expecting an outside pitch, but my mentality is, if I see a first-pitch strike, I’m going to swing at it. I don’t like to let good stuff by. When I first hit it, I started jogging but I wasn’t sure. It was so flat, I didn’t know if it would go out.”
The blast gave Reed a 2-0 lead and proved to be all the offense it would need.
Still, the Raiders wanted a little more insurance. They got it in the bottom of the fifth.
Marriah Levesque reached safely on a one-out bunt single. She stole second, and when the pick-off throw sailed into center field, she got up and hustled into third. Reed’s No. 8 hitter, Lindsey Yearman, followed and laced a single to left field that allowed Levesque to trot home for a 3-0 Raiders advantage.
McQueen struggled to mount much offense in the first-round playoff affair. With two outs in the first, the Lancers got a walk and a single but the runners were stranded when Sertic recorded a whiff for the third out.
The Lancers’ best chance to score came in the top of the fourth. Hannah Lowe singled to initiate the MHS frame. Jessica Bacon stepped in next and singled as well. After a passed ball, McQueen had runners on second and third with no outs.
Sertic struck out Danielle Stewart for the first out. Then, Lane hit a ground ball to shortstop. Reed’s Laura Frost scooped it up, looked back Lowe at third base and threw out Lane at first. However, Bacon took off for third on the play. That forced Lowe to take off for the plate where she was cut down for the third out, nixing the Lancers’ hopes of scoring and taking the game’s first lead.
Sertic was stellar in the circle for Reed. She picked up the complete-game shutout victory, limiting McQueen to four hits. The sophomore right-hander struck out seven and walked one.
“I felt really confident out there today,” Sertic said. “This is a team effort. When I make mistakes, my defense picks me up and when they make mistakes, I pick them up.
“My knuckleball was working really well. It was moving all over, but not the seams. My changeup was good too. That helped me keep them off balance.”
Lane was saddled with the loss for McQueen. She gave up the three runs, only two of which were earned, while scattering six hits. She struck out five but did not issue a walk.
Next up for Reed (27-4) is a winners’ bracket battle today at 1 p.m. against Damonte Ranch at Manogue. A low-scoring, close close contest would not be a surprise as Reed prevailed twice over Damonte Ranch in the regular season, both times by scores of 1-0.
“We can’t make two, three or four errors like we did today,” Wunder said. “That’s very uncharacteristic for us. Defense is going to win this thing. I’m glad to say that hopefully we got our bad game out of our system and can move forward.”