But it was up to the Raiders' last three hitters in the order to come through in the bottom of the seventh inning to break a tie game and avoid extra innings in the prep softball clash. They did just that.
No. 7 batter Alex Corona led off the seventh inning with a double and she came home to score the winning run on fellow senior Tia Wunder's RBI single, giving Reed a 2-1 win in its High Desert League opener Thursday.
"Good way to start. McQueen's tough. They're always well-coached," Reed softball coach Ray Charles said. "We always seem to have great games with them. It's always a nip and tuck game. We found a way to win, so I'm excited about it."
Reed's entire lineup struggled against McQueen hurler Mikala Huebner, accumulating three hits through the first six innings, so it looked like the two teams would remain deadlocked at 1-1 and headed for extra innings.
However, Corona set the table when she one-hopped the fence in left field for a stand-up double.
Syd Jones followed by striking out, but the third strike was dropped and Corona was able to advance to third on the throw to first.
Cori Gammon pinch hit in the No. 9 hole and was down to her last strike until she was hit by a pitch, putting runners on the corners and bringing the top of the order to the plate.
Wunder ripped a grounder into right field to seal the victory.
Reed senior Chelsea Cohen was on fire in the circle and her effort almost went for naught.
Cohen was perfect through three innings until Lancers leadoff hitter McKenna Thurber slapped a soft liner to shallow left field in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Julia Willison smacked an RBI single through the right side of the infield for the game's first run.
But Cohen helped her own cause when she led off the bottom half of the inning by launching a game-tying solo shot. Cohen earned the pitching win by striking out 16 batters and allowing just three hits in the complete-game effort.
"Most teams aren't going to score a lot of runs on her," Charles said of his ace. "She gives us a chance to win every time she goes out there. That's the nice confidence we have when she's on the mound. It's a nice luxury to have."
Thurber had two of McQueen's three hits in the game.
Reed (4-2, 1-0 HDL) heads to McQueen for a Saturday doubleheader starting at 10 a.m.