FORNEY — Van's Hallee Carter was thrown out twice Thursday trying to stretch a double into a triple. One of those times cost the Lady Vandals a run because her out was recorded before her teammate crossed home plate.
The Lady Vandals center fielder will just have to be satisfied with a single, two doubles and six RBIs instead of two triples and seven RBIs. Van crushed Celina 17-0 to take a 1-0 series lead in their best-of-three Class 3A Region II semifinal series. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
"I was really pushing the bases and I was hoping for triples, but it didn't happen," Carter said while smiling afterward. "It's not going to keep me from trying to keep it going."
The Lady Vandals (27-4-1) look to keep it going in Game 2, scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at Forney Softball Field. If a third game is needed, it will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Van and Celina (25-16) treated fans to a nail-biter during the regular season with Van holding off a late comeback to win 7-6.
The Lady Vandals coasted on Thursday, scoring six runs in the first inning and four in the second. Van added seven insurance runs in the third to finish with 14 hits.
Van coach Craig Ham said he told his players to put the final score and Game 1 out of their minds immediately.
"That one is over with," Ham said. "We have to come back focused and finish them off Friday. We've seen it before. They won't stop. They will come back fighting tomorrow, believe me."
Van pitcher Nicole Gandy delivered five quick innings on the mound in the shutout, allowing three hits with eight strikeouts.
Celina's leadoff batter, Courtney Todd, began the game with a single and quickly advanced to second before another pitch was thrown, catching Van a little off guard.
Gandy kept her there, retiring the next three batters.
In the bottom of the first, Carter led off with a single. The next four Van batters all reached base without a ball being hit out of the infield. Gandy drove in Carter with a fielder's choice for the first run of the game. With the bases loaded, Haleigh Moore made it 2-0 when she was hit by a pitch.
Autumn McKinney then laced a two-run single to left field — all part of a six-run first inning.
"It was just the ball put in the right place early," Ham said. "We got runners on and just kept adding (to the score). We got some momentum and (did not let up)."
Carter highlighted the second and third innings with a two-run double and three-run double.
Celina did not threaten after the first inning, with Gandy setting the Bobcats down in order in the fifth to trigger the 10-run rule.
The winner of this series will face the winner of Sanger-Atlanta next week in the regional finals.
Carter said the Lady Vandals remain focused despite Game 1's lopsided result.
"Every game is a new game and they'll come back fighting," Carter said. "We've played them before and they fought to the end. We just have to come back tomorrow and take care of business."
Class 3A Region II Regional Semifinals
At Forney Softball Field, Forney
Van 17, Celina 0
Van leads series 1-0
Celina 000 00 — 0 3 2
Van 647 0x — 17 14 0
Lauren Schultze, Halie Knowles (3) and Alexis Elizondo; Nicole Gandy and Haleigh Moore. W – Gandy. L – Schultze. 2B – VAN: Hallee Carter (2), Moore.
RECORDS — Celina 25-16; Van 27-4-1.
NEXT UP — Game 2: Van vs. Celina, 7 p.m. Friday, Forney Softball Field.