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1A STATE: Thunderbirds ride big inning to opening win

RENO — Indian Springs’ offense never really got untracked Thursday.

But it didn’t stop the potent Thunderbirds from scoring 14 runs in the third inning.

Indian Springs managed only five hits, yet dominated Eureka, 15-0 in five innings in the opening game of the Class 1A state softball tournament at UNR’s Hixson Field.

The defending state champion Thunderbirds (23-1) will face Carlin (23-6) in the winners’ bracket final at 1 p.m. Friday at Bishop Manogue.

“We saw our opportunities, and just took advantage,” said Indian Springs coach Steve Lawson. “The first couple of innings it was just a matter of getting our nerves out of the way.”

Indian Springs didn’t get its first hit until the fifth batter of the third inning, and didn’t collect its second hit until the inning’s 12th batter. By then, the Thunderbirds had built an 8-0 lead.

The Vandals melted down in the third inning, committing six errors, hitting two batters, walking three more and uncorking three wild pitches. Indian Springs had only four hits in the inning, the last of which — Natasha Cruz’s double — didn’t factor into the scoring.

The bottom of the third inning lasted 30 minutes, and none of Indian Springs’ 14 runs was earned. Thunderbirds’ hitters saw a total of 62 pitches in the inning.

“We thought their defense was flat in the first two innings, so we just wanted to put some pressure on them,” said Lawson, whose team has scored at least 10 runs in all of its wins this year.

Brandi Bryl tossed a five-hitter, striking out seven. Indian Springs turned two double plays, one on a fly to right field.

“We knew if we played solid defense, we would be in the ball game,” Lawson said. “Brandi just took control.”

Tessa Lounsbury was 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Indian Springs.

Carlin 15, Tonopah 3 — Winning pitcher Lacey Mathews stroked three doubles, and the Railroaders overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit to down the Muckers (8-11) in five innings.

Tonopah scored twice on Alli Friel’s double and once more on Sydney Maughan’s single in the top of the first, but managed only one more base runner.

Carlin hit four consecutive doubles to spark a four-run bottom of the first and never looked back.

Tonopah will face Eureka in an elimination game at 3 p.m. Friday at Bishop Manogue.

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