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Nelson, Lady Deer dominate in playoff opener

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Sports

The Lady Deer softball team started the playoffs the same way it ended the season: in dominating fashion. With a 10-0 run rule Game 1 victory over Goose Creek Memorial, Deer Park takes on the Lady Patriots in Game 2 of their three-game set tonight at 6:30 at Goose Creek.

A dominating performance from starting pitcher Maddie Nelson and an offensive explosion led to a Lady Deer softball 10-0 victory in their first round playoff game against Goose Creek Memorial Thursday at Doll Forrest Field.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Friday night at Goose Creek. If necessary, a third game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m. at Doll Forrest Field.

Deer Park’s Sara Vanderford fell a homerun shy of a cycle as she drove in two runs and scored twice. She and leftfielder Erin Emoundson each had three hits and two RBIs. Edmoundson had two doubles and a triple.

The Lady Deer got on the board in the second inning when Jasie Roberts (2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI) doubled home Vanderford. Roberts and her Deer Park teammates then took advantage of Memorial mental lapses.

Roberts moved to third base on an error by the Memorial catcher. The next batter, KK Morado, then reached first base on a fielder’s choice when the Memorial pitcher fielded her bunt and attempted to get Roberts out at home plate. Roberts scored, but with no one guarding the bases, Morado moved from first all the way to third base all while the catcher held the ball.

Deer Park added a third run in the third when Edmondson tripled home Alyssa Hernandez. In the Deer Park fifth, all nine batters came to the plate as the Lady Deer put the game out of reach with a five-run inning.

Roberts opened the floodgates with a leadoff walk. She and Morado came home on McKayala Chamberlain’s two-run triple. She later scored on Hernandez’s ground out.

With two outs in the inning, the Lady Deer struck again. After Maleah Olvera was hit by a pitch, Edmoundson and Vanderford followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to extend the lead to 8-0.

Deer Park put away the game in the sixth when Edmoundson led off with another double, followed by Vanderford’s triple. Roberts ended the game with a walk-off double to give Deer Park the 10-0 run rule victory.

Meanwhile in the circle, Nelson was her usual dominant self, striking out nine of the 21 batters she faced, allowing two hits and no walks in six shutout innings.

“We knew where (Memorial) liked to pitch, and once we got settled in, we were able to hit some hot shots,” said Carrie Austgen, Deer Park head coach. “We had some big games from several players tonight.”

Austgen said the team received big efforts from some of its expected leaders, but she singled out Roberts’ effort.

“She got the knockout punch for us tonight and it was so sweet. Jacie’s worked hard all year. Sometimes when you are a role player from the year before, you have to fight hard to get into the lineup and she’s done exactly that. We’re proud of her,” Austgen said.

Austgen said Nelson’s effort was excellent execution and a brilliant game plan from Asst. Coach Errica Cantu.

“Maddie was incredible for us. Coach Cantu built a strategy for us and allowed Maddie to give our defense a chance to do anything no matter what pitch she threw. She hit her spots and shut them down,” she said.

Deer Park went into the playoff bracket as the top seed against fourth-seeded Memorial. Austgen said she cautioned her team to not look past a low seed in the brackets.

“They finished 7-7 in a tough district. It’s hard to win and they grinded it out, and we need to watch ourselves. We want to go to Austin, just like all the teams in the playoffs,” Austgen said. “You worry about every round and every opponent.”