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Defense lets Raiders down in state tournament loss
by Dan Eckles
May 16, 2013 | 1730 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LAS VEGAS -- The Reed High softball team learned the hard way that postseason mistakes don't often go unpunished. The Raiders dropped a 5-4 decision to defending state champion Centennial in a first-round state tournament tilt Thursday night and it can lay the blame squarely on its defense.

Reed suffered through a defensive first inning that may leave it waking up with nightmares in the the foreseeable future.

Raiders shortstop Mackenzie Goins misplayed a groundball off the bat of CHS leadoff hitter Maddie Henzlik to open the Bulldogs first. Next, when Centennial No. 2 hitter Mia Acuna tried to give Reed an out with a sacrifice bunt, Raiders first baseman Marriah Levesque charged the ball, scooped it up and fired the ball wide of the bag.

"I thought I heard 'Go two and then go one,'" Levesque said, alluding to her teammates shouting directions on which base to throw to. "I just missed making a good throw."

Goins, a freshman, knew why she struggled in the field early on.

"My error was just pregame jitters," she said. "Defense can be contagious, too. Someone makes a mistake and then you can all get tight and somebody else makes a mistake. It happens, but this game today will make us stronger."

The first two Centennial hitters had reached safely thanks to Reed's fielding woes, setting the stage for the Bulldogs' top two hitters, Heather Bowen and Savannah Horvath, who each made the Sparks school pay with RBI hits.

Later in the inning, Reed second baseman Chelsea Cummings could not field a grounder cleanly that resulted in a third Raiders first-inning error. Centennials' fourth and final run of the first scored on that sequence.

"We had a bad first inning," Reed coach Jon Wunder said. "We definitely booted the ball around. And that was all jitters because we've been pretty good defensively. Those were routine plays. Errors, like hits, can be contagious.

"But you can't get mad. The girls are trying their hardest out there. We just tried to get them to relax and they did after that first inning. We didn't make another error and Chelsea Cummings wound up making some outstanding plays at second base."

Indeed she did. After the initial snafu, Cummings was stellar. She snagged a tough grounder ranging into short right field to end the sixth inning. Additionally, in the third inning, she made a diving catch to her left of a low liner that left her on the ground. She hopped right back up to double off a Centennial baserunner.

Centennial escaped with the win but its defense was far from stellar. The Bulldogs actually committed fours in the playoff affair, but spread them out in four different innings. Only one led to a Reed run.

"There was a little bit of jitters by both of us," Centennial coach Mike Livreri said. "It's weird. We've both been here before, but sometimes you just get jitters. These are two good teams. I think it's pretty atypical for either of us to make errors like that."
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