NEVADA — Cassandra Nordie sat in a row with her sister Desiree and their mother, Cheryl, flipping the latest addition to the family’s mound of softball mementos in her hands Saturday afternoon.
The yellow ball that Nicole Nordie had just launched over the left field fence barely had a chance to settle into the grass before her father, Jeff, tracked it down.
The home run Nordie hit turned out to be the key blow in Sanger’s 6-3 win over Nevada Community to close out a sweep of a Class 3A area-round playoff series, adding a little extra meaning to the latest home run ball in the family’s collection.
“We have a lot of balls and trophies,” Jeff Nordie said. “That ball will have a spot with the rest of them. It’s absolutely special to hit a home run in the playoffs.”
The score was tied at 3 in the top of the fifth when Nordie lofted a high fly ball that hung in a stiff wind and carried out.
Sanger (29-4) quickly closed the game out and turned its attention to a Region II quarterfinal series against Aubrey at a time and site that had yet to be determined Saturday.
Sanger and Aubrey split a pair of games during the regular season.
“We had a lot of kids contribute, but we need to do a better job of taking care of the little things,” Sanger coach Jae McMinn said.
Sanger committed five errors and gave up an early lead after shortstop Morgan Turkoly led the game off with a double and scored on a perfectly executed double steal with third baseman Mikayla Stogsdill.
Community (16-8) came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first, sparked by first baseman Madi Pendill’s two-out double to center.
Sanger scored two runs in the third after Turkoly singled and Stogsdill reached on an error. Nordie, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, drove in Stogsdill with a sacrifice fly after Turkoly scored on an error.
Community again came back to tie the score in the fourth when Chelsie Wilson drew a walk to lead off the inning and scored on an error.
That was all Community would manage against Kelly Mardones, who struck out 10 and worked her way out of a tight spot in the second inning after the Lady Braves loaded the bases with no one out. Maradones struck out two of Community’s next three batters and picked up the second out of the inning when Stogsdill fielded a grounder and fired the ball home.
Maradones was the winning pitcher in both of Sanger’s wins over Community and helped set the stage for Nordie’s game-winning homer.
Having a member of the Nordie clan come though is nothing new for Sanger. Cassandra and Desiree Nordie both played for the Lady Indians before going on to play at East Central.
Nicole Nordie has committed to ECU and will follow in their footsteps at the Oklahoma school.
Desiree joined Cassandra and Cheryl Nordie in chairs along the fence beside the visiting dugout as the latest Nordie sister to play for the Lady Indians added to the family’s Sanger legacy.
“I thought [Community left fielder Kenzie Todd] was going to catch it, because I hit it so high,” Nicole Nordie said of her home run.
Todd tried to chase the ball down but ran out of room and watched it sail over the fence.
Jeff Nordie quickly chased after it — a pursuit Nicole Nordie said she appreciated.
“Every time I hit one out, he goes and gets it,” Nicole Nordie said. “There are a lot of balls around the house.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.
Sanger 6, Nevada Community 3
Sanger 102 021 0 — 6 10 5
Community 200 100 0 — 3 6 2
WP — Kelly Mardones. LP — Baylee Travers. 2B — Sanger: Morgan Turkoly, Halee Sliger, Community: Madi Pendill.
HR — Sanger: Nicole Nordie. Records — Sanger 29-4.