Senators turn to Stone
Carson High School’s softball team turned to Stone on Thursday afternoon. Melissa Stone that is.
And in her first role as a starter, Stone pitched the five-inning distance and allowed only three hits in a 12-1 Northern 4A victory at home against South Tahoe.
Carson scored six runs in the first inning, highlighted by Nicole Freeman’s three-run homer over the right-center field fence, and the Senators never looked back in a game that was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
The Senators, who were playing their third game this week, improved to 10-2 in conference. South Tahoe is now 1-14
The Vikings were actually the home team for this game, which was moved to Carson City because of snow conditions in South Lake Tahoe.
“I was talking to Jan (Johnson, South Tahoe coach) and he said they’ve had four feet of snow in the last two weeks,” Carson coach John Sullivan said. “It’s tough playing when you still have that much snow on the ground in April.”
It did present Sullivan with an opportunity to start Stone, who is listed as the No. 3 pitcher on the team’s staff.
“I thought Melissa, for only her second or third game, threw real well,” Sullivan said. “She threw with good velocity and showed a good variety of pitches.”
The junior right-hander struck out four and walked none on the day. Three of those strikeouts came in the fourth and fifth innings, one swinging on a baffling change up.
“I was kind of nervous for my first game (as a starter),” said Stone, whose longest previous outing had been three innings. “Once I got going, I started to get the hang of it. I started to get my confidence.”
Stone’s performance was good news to the Senators, according to Sullivan.
“It’s tough being the No. 3 pitcher at Carson, and the thing is, we’ve had so many tough games early in the season, it’s been hard to find time for her to throw. But she’s going to pitch quite a bit the second half of the season. Come playoff time, we’re going to need a third pitcher because you never know when somebody is going to get hurt or sick, and she’s going to have to be ready.”
Another source of good news was the sight of Freeman hitting the long ball. Freeman is only the third Carson player to homer over the fence at home – Holly Hawkins and Lynda Upton are the others – and she did it in back-to-back trips to the plate this week.
Tuesday, Freeman hit a grand-slam in the seventh inning of Carson’s 7-0 victory against Fallon. This time, she hit the ball over the “Go Senators” sign in right-center field.
“It was nothing, really,” Freeman shrugged. “My swing was just fluid and relaxed. I looked for my pitch and when it was there, I hit it. I’m in a certain groove right now. I’ve been hitting it out in practice, but this is the first time I’ve done it in games.”
Amy Sanchez led off the game with a sinking liner that fell for a base hit in center field. Brandi Cotroneo walked, Margie Foster singled and Freeman homered to give Carson a 4-0 lead.
Carson finished the day with 11 hits, led by Chrissy Joseph’s 2-for-2 and Foster’s 2-for-4.
Missy Johnson collected two of South Tahoe’s three hits. She singled in the third and scored on Kathryn Baer’s line-drive single into right-center with two outs.
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