Jacquelyn Sertic was the train Reed rode this postseason, and it took the Raiders places, like to a region title and to the brink of the playing for a state championship.
But just hours after throwing a complete-game shutout, Sertic ran out of gas and so did Reed’s run.
Sertic uncharacteristically was wild — by her standards — and issued four walks that came back to haunt the Raiders on Friday evening in a 4-1 loss to Palo Verde in the Division I state tournament at UNLV.
Two-out free passes to Palo Verde’s bottom two hitters in its lineup both scored and a bases-loaded walk brought in another run, which was more than enough as the Reed offense could not handle the change-up thrown its way in the elimination game.
“I walked four people. That is ridiculous,” Sertic said. “But it happened, and it sucks for my team. I know they were thinking, ‘Throw the ball over the plate so they can hit it,’ because they can’t defend walks. And it came to bite us in the butt.”
Sertic said she didn’t feel tired. But the junior threw all 70 innings, in 11 days, these playoffs after Megan Dettling was injured in the final week of the regular season.
“I might have been tired. I don’t know. Maybe it was just an off game,” Sertic said. “It sucks, real bad. But that’s the best team we’ve faced all year besides Centennial. So, I’d rather go out to them and not a bad team.”
While the walks certainly hurt — and helped send Palo Verde into today’s championship against defending champion Centennial — Reed needed more than one run to keep its season alive. And the Panthers’ diminutive Melissa Lacro wasn’t giving that up.
Lacro used a number of off-speed pitches to limit the Raiders to six hits and only one multi-hit inning.
“Most of the year we’ve struggled with slow pitchers and I know our team is going to work on that next year,” said Mary Dettling, who tripled and singled against Lacro. “We saw so much fast-pitch that we didn’t know how to approach the slow-pitch and they hit us with the change-ups and, honestly, congrats to them. They did a great job of pitching and you have to take it that way sometimes. … They had to do what they had to do to win. And I give them props for that.”
Lacro was just part of the curveball Palo Verde coach Kelly Glass threw at Reed 30 minutes after her team fell into the losers’ bracket with an 11-2 loss to Centennial.
“I just needed to mix it up,” Glass said. “I literally mixed up everything. My lineup changed offensively; defensively, I had to make a couple changes. I wanted to just switch everything in hopes it would spark something, and it did.”
It also ended Reed’s season and the high school careers of the Raiders’ six seniors.
“It’s hard because it’s the last time I get to say ‘Raiders’ with the girls,” Dettling said.
“We made state; we won regionals; we’re going to hang a banner. But it still sucks to lose,” Sertic added.
The Raiders finished 27-8-3 and must look to next year to win their first state championship since 1998.
“Someone always has to lose, but you don’t want it to be you,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “We’re trying not to dwell on this too long. I told them now it’s OK to forget about state and focus on what they accomplished last week (in winning the region tournament). We had a great season. We had a lot of question marks coming into the season, and we had a great year.”