The Raiders were closing in on an undefeated run through DI North play. Then they hosted McQueen.
Reed, the defending state champ, was on the wrong end of the biggest upset of the season to date, 6-2, on Tuesday.
So what does it mean? Well, the Raiders’ league title aspirations are still fully intact. They dropped to 25-2-1, 18-1, but still own a two-game lead over Spanish Springs for first place with three games left. Reed will attempt to salvage a split with the fourth-place Lancers (12-10, 12-7) on Thursday at McQueen, then hosts a season-ending doubleheader with Spanish Springs on Saturday.
The Raiders can secure the league title outright before Saturday’s doubleheader with a win on Thursday paired with a Spanish Springs loss at Bishop Manogue.
Alysha Imperato broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out solo shot to dead center. The Lancers weren’t impressed. They scored three times in the top of the fifth, all with two outs.
Bayley Miller slapped two-run single before Jesse Blanton followed with an RBI single of her own. Julia Jensen escaped further damage with her 10th of 14 strikeouts.
Kenzi Goins pulled the Raiders within a run in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI double but Jess Sellers, trying to score from first and tie the game, was gunned down at the plate.
The Lancers took momentum of the big defensive play into their next at bat, plating three in the top of the seventh on a trio of RBI singles from Blanton, Ana Zimmerman and Emily Mitchell. Zimmerman’s and Mitchell’s knocks came with two outs. Five of McQueen’s six runs were scored with two down.
Mitchell also came through in the circle, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks in a complete game victory. She also fanned eight.
Jensen countered with a complete game and was charged with six runs on eight hits and three walks to go along with her 14 punch outs.
Carla Hernandez was the only Raider with a multi-hit afternoon, going 2-for-3.
First pitch on Thursday at McQueen is at 3:45 p.m.
Cougs rout Miners, pull within two games of Raiders
The Cougars scored 11 fourth-inning runs at home on Tuesday to rout Bishop Manogue 15-3 (five innings) and pull within two games of first-place Reed.
Spanish Springs’ record improved to 21-10, 16-3, just two games back of the Raiders with three games to play. Bishop Manogue dropped to 15-11, 11-8 and fell to sixth place.
Hayley Fein threw all five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and five walks. She also struck out five.
The Cougars were benefactors of 13 walks, only outhitting the Miners 7-4.
Cami Moore was 2-for-2 with four RBIs and a couple runs scored. Courtney Huff finished 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored.
The Cougars will attempt to complete the sweep of the Miners on Thursday when they go to Bishop Manogue. The regular season then concludes with a doubleheader at Reed on Saturday.
The double dip won’t matter, however, if Spanish Springs falls at Bishop Manogue on Thursday and Reed wins at McQueen.
Sparks eliminated from postseason
The Railroaders were officially eliminated from postseason contention on Tuesday with a 9-3 home loss to Truckee.
Sparks (6-19-1, 5-16) fell four games back of Spring Creek for the sixth and final playoff spot in the DI-A North with just three games remaining. Truckee (5-20, 2-19) will also miss out on the playoffs.
Marisa Coleman, Riley Nelson and Crystal Aleman each finished with a knock as Sparks was outhit 11-3.
The Railroaders scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the third to claw within 4-3. The Wolverines scored five unanswered runs the rest of the way.
Sparks will close out the season with a three-game home series against first-place Fallon (19-2, 19-2) this weekend. The squads will play one game on Friday at 3 p.m. followed by a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 11 a.m.