No shortage of confidence going into Manogue
As the No. 6 seed in the NIAA Northern 3A softball playoffs, the Truckee softball team surprisingly has a slight advantage starting play today against No. 1 Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno.
Truckee may not be as intimidated as one might expect.
On March 18, the Wolverines started their Northern 3A league season with a bang, pummeling the Miners, 3A state champions in 2001 and 2002, by a score of 7-0 behind a three-hitter from Kaley White.
In the second game, Truckee had Manogue on the ropes again, leading 5-0 going into the sixth inning. But Manogue prevailed, scoring six runs in the final two innings to split the doubleheader.
The difference between those games for Truckee was defense. Truckee played flawless defense for 12 innings that day, only to squander a five-run lead behind Smith, who only gave up two earned runs in game two.
“It’s going to take that same kind of effort to beat them,” said Truckee first-year head coach Mitch Brown.
That second game derailment served as a turning point for both teams. Manogue lost only one more league game and finished the regular season 12-2 and on top of the division.
Truckee only won five more league games to finish 6-8 in the Northern 3A.
Four of those wins came against Yerington and North Tahoe, which combined for only two league wins between them, and one against Fernley.
“I think they’re going to underestimate us,” said Brown. “But this is the end of the road, and I think we’re focused.”
Brown’s squad knows they can play with Manogue, and that means a lot going into the playoffs, when confidence can take even the weakest team on paper to unprecedented levels.
Another motivation for Truckee will be playing second base for Manogue. Beth Reedy, a Truckee resident, transferred to Manogue after attending Sierra Mountain Middle School and has blossomed into a fine hitter and fielder. Besides advancing to state, Truckee players would get some bonus satisfaction out of seeing Reedy in the losing dugout this weekend.
Brown said he looks to pressure Manogue’s defense with the running game. Truckee must find that March 18 defensive prowess, as well.
Truckee also has to break through against Manogue pitcher Tara Beck and contain first baseman Corby Ramsey and outfielder J.B. Powell at the plate, as well as Reedy.
Behind White and Amber Harder, Truckee has plenty of pitching as long as the defense holds up.
Truckee has never won a state title. Bishop Manogue has won three (1983 2A, 2001, 2002 3A).
2004 NIAA 3A Northern League softball tournament
Who: Truckee at Bishop Manogue
What: Best-of-three playoff series
When: Game one: Today, 3:30 p.m.
Game two: Saturday, May 15, 10 a.m.
(if necessary) Game three: Saturday, May 15, noon
Other matchups: – Spring Creek at Lowry (same times)
– Fernley at Dayton (same times)
Why: Winners advance to state championships
What to look for in the series
– Spoiling Manogue’s 3A party: Next year Manogue will move to a new high school in Reno and will also make a coinciding move to 4A competition. It would like nothing more than to end its 3A tenure with a championship.
– Defense: The recipe for success is simple for Truckee – solid defense and limited mistakes.
– Confidence: Despite its poor league record, Truckee nearly swept Manogue on the road in March. On paper, Truckee is not supposed to win, but it knows it can compete with Manogue.
– Old friend, new foe: Manogue second baseman Beth Reedy lives in Truckee and transferred to Manogue after middle school.Reedy hits leadoff, has scored 25 runs and hit .531 in league play.
– Harder leading off and Smith knocking in runs: Truckee leadoff hitter Amber Harder must get on base and score runs. She leads the team in that category with 24 and has only struck out eight times in 79 at-bats. Alycia Smith leads the team in hitting (.467) and RBIs (21).
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