With more than a handful of state tournament newcomers, first-game jitters were to be expected.
That nervousness, however, cost Reed in a big way Thursday and sent the Raiders to the losers’ bracket.
Three first-inning errors led to four Centennial runs and a 5-4 loss in the first round of the Division I state softball tournament at UNLV.
Centennial’s first two hitters reached via a Reed error, after the Raiders had jumped on top with a run in the top of the first inning, and a two-out misplay gave the Bulldogs an early 4-1 advantage.
“It’s a new stage for some of them and it showed in the first inning,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “We made some great plays after that. We just spotted them four runs in the first. Probably should have left one out there, not four. … I wish we could have that first inning back.”
Reed, with just three returning starters from last year’s state-qualifying team, settled down after the opening inning and came back to pull even with Centennial in the third.
Mackenzie Goins had a run-scoring single and Lindsay Yearman an RBI double as part of a three-run inning.
Centennial, the defending state champion that beat Reed twice in last year’s tournament, regained the lead in the fifth on a RBI double from Heather Bowen off Jacquelyn Sertic, who took the loss despite five strikeouts and just two earned runs against.
The Raiders got the tying run to second base in both the sixth and seventh innings but could not pull even a second time.
“Not quite the road we faced last week, so we’ll start with Game 1 (today) and go from there,” said Wunder, whose team had to win six straight at last week’s region tournament to advance to state. “We battled back, though, and showed character.”
The Raiders will face Green Valley at 1:30 p.m. today, with the winner then playing again at 6 p.m. Green Valley, the Sunrise Region champion, was sent to losers’ bracket by Palo Verde, 4-2.
“These girls believe they can do it,” Wunder said. “I saw a little disappointment. They know they let one slip away.”