RENO – Julia Jensen threw an eight inning no-hitter against Spanish Springs in Friday’s DI North semifinal at Bishop Manogue.
And somehow, one of her teammates overshadowed her stellar outing.
Senior shortstop Kenzi Goins blasted the second pitch of the bottom of the eighth inning well beyond the fence in the left to give the Raiders a walk off 1-0 win, sending the Raiders to the DI North title game and securing a state berth.
“I saw all of it. I was ready,” Goins said. “I was looking for a pitch I could hit. And I saw it.”
The Raiders will await the winner of Spanish Springs and Douglas in Saturday’s title game at noon. The Cougars and Tigers will play Saturday morning with the winner earning the region’s second state berth, and the loser going home.
“You have to rebound. You can’t think about (the loss),” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “One pitch can change a game and it did for them today.”
Goins’ heroics came no more than three or four minutes after she was unable to corral a chopper in the hole with two outs in the top of the eighth, ending Jensen’s bid for a perfect game. Jensen, who got the next batter to hit a soft liner to Goins, turned in an obnoxious final line. She struck out 12 and did not walk a batter over eight hitless innings. She has not allowed a run in 22 innings of work in the tournament.
“I was definitely mad. I was angry,” Goins said of the error. “I think that helped in the at bat. I had to take it out on something.”
When asked if she thought she made up for the error, she responded with a grin.
“Yeah, I think so.”
For the Cougars, Hayley Fein pitched more than well enough to win, but absorbed the tough-luck loss. She allowed the lone run on just three hits and two walks while striking out one.
She worked out of two-out jams in the fifth (first and third) and sixth (first and second) by inducing pop ups.
“It was a pitching duel and good defense by both teams,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “We told them ’you guys just got to straighten these out, you just have to straighten them out.’ She (Goins) straightened it out.”
First pitch in the Spanish Springs-Douglas play-in game is at 10 a.m. at Bishop Manogue. The Cougars topped the Tigers twice this season, 15-1 and 3-2, but Douglas enters with the momentum of three-straight wins in elimination games.
The winner will have to top the Raiders twice to steal the regional title. Reed is attempting to win what would be its fourth straight DI North title.
“That’s where you want to be,” Wunder said. “Now somebody has to beat (us) twice … It’s really important to get this for two reasons. One, to get the berth at state. Two, to put the pressure on somebody else to beat you twice.”
Spanish Springs 5, Reno 3
In Thursday’s DI North tournament opener, it was Courtney Huff who hit a late game-winning home run. In Friday’s quarterfinal against Reno, it Kourtney with a ‘K’s turn.
Townsend, the team’s senior captain catcher, belted a game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to put the Cougs up 5-3. Hayley Fein sealed it with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.
The No. 2 Cougars earned a spot in the semifinals with the 5-3 victory over the No. 6 Huskies.
“Today, (Townsend) came through with a big three-run blast,” Davidson said. “She’s a team captain and she struggled early. I told her to focus up, bear down and look for a pitch to drive. She got one and did a great job.”
Townsend’s sophomore sister, Katelyn, put the Cougars up 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth with a one-out RBI down the right field line. Reno pitcher Morgan Eisele loaded the bases with two outs but her counterpart, Fein, to end into a rally-ending groundout to short.
The narrow 2-1 edge was momentary.
In the top of the fifth, Alexia Young belted a two-out, two-run home run to right center that pushed the Huskies in front 3-2. Reno held the one-run lead until Kourtney Townsend’s game winner in the bottom of the sixth.
Reno went on to fall to Douglas in an elimination game.
Reed 6, McQueen 0
The Raiders rolled to their second straight 6-0 win in Friday’s quarterfinal against McQueen thanks to another complete game no hitter by Jensen.
“She (Jensen) is just one of those kids that’s very competitive,” Wunder said. “She does her homework. She studies her batters … She’s never satisfied.”