After fending off elimination twice, Reed bested 9-3 by Palo Verde in championship game
Reed tried to grind its way to a state title through the loser’s bracket, ultimately falling one win short on Saturday at Bishop Gorman.
The Raiders topped Coronado in an elimination game on Friday and snuck past Palo Verde, 4-3, in Saturday’s first contest to force the ‘if necessary’ meeting, but fell 9-3 in the winner-take-all game.
“We just ran out of gas,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “They (Palo Verde) are a good team, but we never stopped trying. It’s all about character and effort.
“We put ourselves in a little bit of a spot by dropping that game yesterday (Friday) morning. We knew we had to battle back and fought hard and got that first game.”
Reed finished the year 37-4-1 after celebrating its fifth straight regional title. Two losses were to Bishop Manogue in the regular season. The other two were to Palo Verde, which ended the year with a 37-6 mark.
In a 1-1 tie going to the fourth inning in Saturday’s second game, a hit batter and error put two runners on with no outs. Makena Martin made it hurt two batters later. She hit a three-run shot to left that put the Panthers in front for good.
The Raiders scratched one across in the home half of the fourth to get within 4-2, only for the Panthers to score three more times in the fifth – two coming on a Cara Beatty home run. Ace Julia Jensen did not make out of the frame. She ended up throwing 34 innings in less than three days and was pitching against Palo Verde for the third time in the weekend.
Wunder said there was no hesitation to give her the ball again after Saturday’s first game.
“You know what, she’s a senior, the best pitcher and the most wins in the state of Nevada history. You gotta let her throw as long as you can,” he said. “She’s a special softball player and she’s a special individual. We’re certainly going to miss her and have been blessed to have her for four years.”
Jessica Sellers was 1-for-3 with a solo home run in the first that tied the game at 1-1.
Reed 4, Palo Verde 3
Allie Hughes’ sac fly in the top of the sixth scored the game-winning in Saturday’s first game.
Jensen picked up career win No. 99, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in a complete game. She struck out six and walked one.
Palo Verde led 3-0 going to the top of the fourth when Aliya Lange hit a sac fly to get the Raiders on the board and Gabby Kahl tied it up with a two-run single to center.