It was back Thursday.
Reed rapped out 15 hits and limited a highly potent Centennial offense to capture a 5-4 win in a first-round game of the Nevada 4A State Tournament at the University of Nevada’s Hixson Softball Complex.
The victory moves the Raiders into the winners’ bracket for a 3 p.m. game today against Coronado, a 5-4 winner over Damonte Ranch in Thursday’s other first-round matchup.
Reed did not score more than three runs in any of its six regional playoff games last weekend, leaving the Raiders’ coaching staff to make hitting a top priority in practice this week.
“At first, the kids were a little reluctant,” second-year Reed softball coach Jon Wunder said. “On Monday, we turned the machine on and the girls didn’t really get going. But by Wednesday we were making adjustments.
“Today, we started off the game getting that first run. We had kids who have been struggling, get hits today. Then they get some confidence and it gets contagious.”
Reed did get on the scoreboard first. Andi Lee led off the second for the RHS crew with a line-drive single to left-center field. After a Lindsay Yearman sacrifice bunt and a slap single by Hannah Martini, Cori Gammon singled to right field, plating Lee and quickly forging Reed on top 1-0.
“We wanted to bring our bats today,” Gammon said. “Last weekend our offense was dormant. That happened at a bad time and if it happened again, we weren’t going to get it done.”
Reed, the No. 2 seed from the North, faced its only deficit of the game when Sunset Region champion Centennial posted a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Bulldogs No. 6 hitter Taylor Huntly walked to initiate the CHS threat. After a pop out, Bailie Nelson singled. Huntly scored on an Ashley Ross single and Nelson circled the sacks after Mia Acuna reached on one of Reed’s two errors.
The lead was short-lived for Centennial. Reed was unfazed by the 2-1 deficit as it answered in the top of the third with two runs of its own.
Mary Dettling doubled and Shivaun Landeros walked to get Reed going. Makaela Moore got down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up and Lee proceeded to rip a two-run single scoring Dettling and courtesy runner Chelsea Cummings.
The key knock lifted Reed into a 3-2 edge and it did not trail again the rest of the way. In fact, the Raiders continued to build on their lead with single scores in the fifth and sixth frames.
In the fifth, Landeros singled and Cummings again entered the game as a courtesy runner. Cummings came around to score after a groundout by Moore and another single by Lee, who was 4-for-4 at the plate Thursday.
“It was nice,” said Lee, who had been in a minor slump in recent weeks. “I just wanted to go out and show everyone if I could do it, they could do it. I went up there trying to keep my mind clear. When you guess where the pitcher is going to throw it, you’re in trouble. I just wanted to react.”
In the sixth, Gammon was issued a one-out walk and she raced home on a double by Marriah Levesque.
Trailing 5-2, Centennial began to show some fight. The northwest Las Vegas school pushed across a run in the bottom of the sixth after Huntly doubled and scored, trimming the RHS edge to 5-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, with two outs, Savannah Horvath reached on Reed’s other error and scored on an Alyssa Finger double. However, Raiders reliever Jackie Sertic shut the door on any faint hopes of a Centennial comeback when she induced a ground ball to the second base for the third out, sending Reed home with the postseason victory.
“Obviously, our bats hurt us,” Centennial coach Mike Livreri said. “Reed kept us from having a big inning. We couldn’t get the big hit. Our defense played OK. Reed just got the lead and kept the pressure on us all day.”
Landeros got the start for Reed in the pitching circle and she earned the win, working five innings. She gave up three runs, only two of which were earned, scattering five hits in a four-strikeout, three-walk outing.
After giving up the two Bulldogs runs in the second, she bounced back to retire Centennial in order in the third and fourth innings.
“Shivaun threw a lot of pitches early, but she settled in,” Wunder said. “She did a good job and settled down. She wasn’t even in a lot of trouble when we took her out, but we thought it would be a good idea to show them something different.”
After Huntly doubled to kick off the Centennial sixth, Wunder called on Sertic and the sophomore right-hander did her job, retiring three of the next four Bulldogs to keep Centennial away from a big inning.
In two innings of relief, Sertic gave up one run, which was unearned. She allowed two hits and struck out three without giving up a walk.
“Jackie is a good relief pitcher and she’s shown that in the past,” Wunder said. “Some kids struggle when they don’t start, but she does a good job in both a starting and relief role.”
“Today was a huge win,” Wunder said. “It gets us into the winners’ bracket and we only need two more wins to win it all. We want to win the next one and be the team somebody else has to beat twice Saturday. I like our chances if we’re in that spot. But we have to put this one in our rear-view mirror and move on, get ready for the next one.”