Raiders rush into playoffs with a win
Thursday, May 9
The Reynolds softball team caused trouble with doubles on its way to a 9-3 road win at Centennial to wrap up the regular season Thursday.
The Raiders jumped on top in 4-0 in the first inning with Vanessa Smoke and Adia Messenger connected on back-to-back doubles, and Reynolds expanded to a 7-2 lead when Hailey Burmeister and Megan Convery paired together doubles to start the second inning.
"Once somebody gets a big hit, it just keeps going with everyone else," Messenger said.
The Raiders pushed across runs in each of the first three innings, going up 8-2 after Burmeister sent another double to left field in the third.
Reynolds hit 14-for-33 (.424) as a team with Burmeister and Maya Phillips each finishing with three hits.
The Raiders' defense did the rest with Messenger and Burmeister taking turns in the circle.
Burmeister came on in relief after Centennial got the tying run on base in the first inning, and she got a pair of ground outs to protect the lead. Messenger was sent back to the circle facing the bases loaded in the third inning and got a pop-up to Kayley King at shortstop to escape the jam.
"I was hitting my spots and pitching to the corners," Messenger said. "I stay up and positive whether I'm pitching, playing first base or out in center field — I just want to support the team."
Centennial's Naomi Maldonado drew a lead-off walk in the fourth, only to see Phillips turn a double play on a grounder to the third-base side. The Eagles were held to two hits through the game's five middle innings.
"When our defense is solid it puts us in a better mindset when we are at the plate," King said.
Marlenae Hicks led the Eagles by hitting 2-for-3 with an RBI-double to bring in the team's first run.
Reynolds (20-5) finished the day as one of four 20-win teams heading into the 6A playoffs, which begin Monday, May 20.
"I feel pretty confident. It's finally clicking with us the level of aggressiveness we need to have to compete with these other top teams," King said.
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This story is slated for our Tuesday, May 14, print edition.