SANGER — Just 20 pitches into Friday night’s game, Sanger junior Nicole Nordie had walked two batters and allowed two runs against Van Alstyne in their Class 2A bi-district playoff game.
Nordie was just getting warmed up, though, and that was not good for Van Alstyne. By the time Nordie was finished, she had struck out a season-high 13 batters and allowed just one hit to lead the Lady Indians to a 13-3 run-rule victory in six innings. Meghan Eilers went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs as Sanger took Game 1 of the best-of-three series.
“She does that on purpose just to stress me out,” Sanger head coach Jae McMinn said of her ace pitcher. “I’m serious. That’s just Nicole. She’s very confident and nothing phases her.”
After walking the first two batters, the right-hander struck out eight of the next nine before giving up a triple by Lady Panthers pitcher Hunter Offill to lead off the fourth inning. Offill would score on the next play when Meagan Gibson reached on an error. The Lady Panthers would not score again.
Nordie finished with 107 pitches and four walks.
“It takes a little time to get warmed up,” Nordie said. “That’s just the way I pitch. I had a lot of my pitches working tonight. We’re happy to get the first one.”
Game 2 is at 11 a.m. today in Van Alstyne with Game 3, if needed, to follow. The winner of the series will play Carrollton Ranchview in the area round. Ranchview has a first-round bye.
“This was a big game,” McMinn said. “We play well here at home. We play well when everything is clicking. Our bats had been in a bit of a slump, so it was nice to get some hits.”
In addition to the 15-hit performance by the Lady Indians, they were able to capitalize on six Van Alstyne errors.
Sanger, the runner-up in District 9-2A, has a strong tradition in softball. It was a state champion in 2001 and reached the regional quarterfinals in 2007. Last season, though, the Lady Indians fell to Anna 2-0 in a one-game bi-district playoff.
Van Alstyne is in the playoffs as the third-place team from District 10-2A.
The Lady Panthers took advantage of Nordie’s slow start. Keely Rettmeier and Maddie Horn drew the early walks. One runner scored on a passed ball, and with one out Meagan Gibson struck out. But catcher Victoria Eakman could not hold the ball, and on her throw to first, Horn scored from third.
Sanger came right back in the bottom of the first. Morgan Turkoly hit a one-out single, Nordie reached on an error and Turkoly scored on Erica Bjorndal’s single up the middle. Eilers followed with a two-run single to right and scored on Eakman’s triple to the left-center gap. Just like that, Sanger would lead 4-2.
The Lady Indians added a run in the second on Courtney Ford’s RBI single, then strung four singles together in the third, resulting in four more runs to increase their lead to 10-2. Harlee Sliger and Bailey Ferguson each had RBIs in that inning.
Bjorndal doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on Eilers’ single, Turkoly singled home a run in the fifth and scored on a wild pitch, and Eilers led off the sixth with a double, scoring on Eakman’s double to end the game.
Turkoly and Eakman each went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Bjorndal was 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Offill, in addition to giving up 15 hits, struck out four and did not walk any batters.
Junior Mikayla Stogsdill will start Game 2 for Sanger.