Softball advances to next round
During the first game of the opening round, best-of-three playoff series between Truckee and Lowry on Friday, Wolverines fans couldn’t help but wonder if their girls had been kidnapped and replaced with body-doubles scheming to lose.
Lose they did, by a score of 7-3.
In front of a large and supportive crowd at Regional Park in Truckee, the girls – it was later learned that there had been no kidnappings in association with the team – muffled their cheering section by giving them nothing to cheer about.
“None of us had our game together,” said first baseman Dani Turner after the game. “We were just all separated and not happy, like we normally are. We just kind of showed up, and once they started getting runs we got down and we couldn’t pull ourselves back up again.”
Senior ace pitcher Kaley White felt the effects of errors and should-have-been outs the entire game, especially early on, as Lowry wasted no time getting on the board with three runs in the first two innings. Lowry continued to add runs, mainly on seeing-eye hits and Truckee miscues, until the fifth inning.
By that time the score had ballooned to 7-0.
Truckee began battling back in the bottom of the fifth. The Wolverines scored two runs after Julie Rohrback tripled down the third base line and was driven in on a base hit up the middle by Turner. Another run scored after Courtney Prouty reached base on an error and was knocked in by Jenny Geresy. The score: 7-2.
The Wolverines, in need of at least a five-run rally entering the bottom of the seventh, managed only one run on an RBI single by Prouty that drove in Kristyn Sarcia. The final score: 7-3.
After the disappointing loss, Prouty, a senior who plays center field, talked about the Wolverines’ apathy.
“From the beginning everyone just didn’t have their heads in the game,” Prouty said. “We’ve got to know from the beginning that we can beat them. I’m really confident we will, if everybody does what they have to.”
Down one game to none after the 7-3 loss the night before, the Wolverines bounced back Saturday looking like the cheerful, competent team fans expected to see.
The final score of the must-win second game: 8-2, Truckee.
“We came out with the attitude that we were taking two,” Truckee head coach Mitch Brown said. “It was Saturday, we were at home, we were taking two.”
The Wolverines allowed their cheering section, of moms, dads, friends and a gaggle of Little Leaguers on hand, to do their job – of cheering. The fathers, as well as the mothers, can take credit for getting the girls fired up with organized chants of “three up, three down,” and “we want a rally, rally rall-ey.”
Both the defensive and offensive chants worked beautifully, as Kaley White, after the leadoff hitter of the game got a hit and scored, retired 11 Lowry batters in a row. It wasn’t until the top of the fourth with two out that White allowed a base runner to reach first, by way of a hit-by-pitch.
The Wolverines’ offense ignited in the bottom of the third when a rally gave them the lead, 3-1, and another rally in the fourth brought the score to 6-1.
Lowry scored three in the top of the sixth on three singles, a double and three Truckee errors. But the Wolverines answered in the bottom of the inning with five runs, capped by Dani Turner’s third triple of the game that knocked in three runs. The score at the end of six: 12-5, Truckee.
Lowry scored two in the bottom of the seventh on two singles and a Truckee error. But it was not enough. The final score: 12-7, Truckee.
Wolverines catcher Alycia Smith explained the drastic adjustment from the day prior.
“We all came out with a lot better attitudes,” Smith said. “We had a better outlook on things and we were more friendly. Mitch [Brown] said we were kind of mean yesterday towards one another.”
With momentum strong from the big win in game one, the Wolverines pounced on Lowry early in the third and final game of the opening round playoff series.
After a scoreless Lowry first, senior shortstop Julie Rohrback set the tone with a blast over the fence in left field on an 0-2 count. Kaley White then walked, Dani Turner and Alycia Smith singled, and Jordan Raber doubled to left-center to score two runs. The score at the end of one: 3-0, Truckee.
The Wolverines knocked Lowry pitcher Lindsey Haagland from the game in the second after scoring three runs on a walk, a single, an RBI base hit by Dani Turner ” a smoked line drive that nearly undressed Lowry’s third baseman, Charlie Brown-style ” and a two-run double by Alycia Smith.
White, pitching her third game in two days, held Lowry scoreless through the first four innings and allowed only two hits.
In the third inning, White helped her cause by picking up two RBI on a base hit into left. The score at the end of three: 8-0, Truckee.
White shut Lowry down in every inning but the fifth, when she allowed two runs during a mini rally. Other than that, it appeared as though White was obeying the “three up, three down” chants by the pumped up fathers behind the Wolverines’ bench.
White broke down her successful performance in simple terms.
“I just depend on my defense to do the work,” White said.
The strategy worked, and the Wolverines won the game 8-0 to advance to the state championship tournament May 20-21 at Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite.
“We came together as a team and were more focused,” sophomore third baseman Kelly Stephens said of the team’s adjustment from day one to day two. “Yesterday not everyone was in it, and today we all came out and performed well.”
Coach Mitch Brown agreed with his third baseman.
“We relaxed,” Brown said. “We came to play softball. Yesterday we were too nervous. We came out today with the attitude of, ‘we’re taking two. It’s Saturday, we’re at home, we’re taking two.”
The Wolverines take on Pahrump Valley Friday at 10 a.m. in the first round of the state tournament.