CARROLLTON — With threatening weather predicted for today’s Game 2 between Sanger and Carrollton Ranchview in the bi-district round of the Class 3A playoffs, Sanger’s 6-0 victory Friday at Ranchview could prove invaluable if the remaining games are canceled.
“The first victory is always important,” Sanger coach Jae McMinn said. “Now they have to come to our place and beat us twice. Weather plays an issue. If it comes down to one game, we have the win.”
With the Lady Indians providing ample offense, Kelly Mardones anchored Sanger’s defense from the circle, striking out 13 Lady Wolves on the way to a two-hit shutout.
“She had one of her better games,” McMinn said. “This is a new season, and not that she hasn’t been focused all season, but it kind of gets everybody pumped up. She was just ready and she’s a competitor. She got her momentum going and she got into a zone. I could tell she was focused on wanting to get every batter out.”
The Lady Indians shot out to a 1-0 lead in the first after Katlyn Stamper reached on an error and Morgan Turkoly sent a single up the middle to drive home Stamper.
Nearly batting around in the second inning, Sanger piled on three more runs after Savannah Matheus sent a double over the center fielder’s head to lead off the inning. McKayla McDaniel’s RBI bloop single to shallow left gave the Lady Indians a 2-0 lead. Jacee Garza singled off the pitcher, Stamper was hit by a pitch and Turkoly hit a two-run single to right.
After Mardones struck out the side in the bottom of the second, the Lady Indians tacked on another run in the top of the third. Two straight singles by Jordan Casen and McDaniel and a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Carly Barnes set up Jacee Garcia’s infield hit, giving Sanger a 5-0 advantage.
“I thought we executed everything really well,” McMinn said. “We got some timely hits to get the runs, but you can’t leave bases loaded with one out. You have to get at least one in. We were swinging a little early with the bat, so hopefully they’ll make their adjustments and they know the pitcher now.”
Mardones continued her command of the Lady Wolves’ offense with three more strikeouts in the third and fourth innings, only allowing one base runner through four innings — a leadoff single in the first.
In the fifth, the Lady Indians made it 6-0 when McDaniel’s fielder’s choice drove home Casen, who hit a leadoff triple to center.
Sanger (23-8) didn’t add any runs in the final two innings, but Mardones didn’t miss a beat, striking out five more Lady Wolves.
The series now heads to Sanger, with Game 2 set for 11 this morning. If the Lady Wolves tie the series, Game 3 will follow 30 minutes later.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.
Sanger 6, Carrollton Ranchview 0
WP — Kelly Mardones. LP — Liz Ahreins. 2B — S: Savannah Matheus, Katlyn Stamper. 3B — S: Jordan Casen.