Douglas falls against Wooster

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One run was enough for the Douglas High School softball team to beat Reed. Unfortunately for the Tigers, it wasn't enough to get past Wooster Friday afternoon at the Northern 4A Regional Tournament.

Douglas rode the two-hit pitching of Jodi Gonzales to a 1-0 victory against Reed to advance in the winners bracket, but then the Tigers missed an opportunity to move on to the championship round when Wooster rallied to win 5-1 on a cold and blustery day at Carson High School.

Douglas pushed across one run in the top half of the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead against Wooster, but the nationally ranked Colts answered with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning on their way to a berth in the finals.

Douglas (27-10) plays McQueen (26-11) in an elimination game today at 10 a.m. at Carson High, with the winner earning a shot at Wooster in the finals at noon. Wooster (36-2) only needs to win one of two games to capture its third straight regional title.

The two finalists advance to the NIAA/U.S. Bank 4A State Tournament May 16-18 in Las Vegas.

The Colts, listed No. 9 in last week's ESPN national prep softball rankings, got a run for their money from a Douglas team that has lost seven games this season by one run.

"That was a good game," Wooster coach Dick Allen said. "It's tough to beat a team four times in the same season and Douglas has an excellent team. All of our games have been close."

The difference was Wooster's junior pitching ace Brianne McGowan, who allowed three hits, struck out 10 and walked none in a winning performance.

Douglas broke a scoreless tie in the fifth when Ashley Hartley reached on a dropped fly ball and then scored on Cheryl Nicoll's two-out single to right field.

The Colts, who had left six base runners stranded through four innings, broke through in the bottom half of the inning against Douglas sophomore Katie Pagen. Katie Stevens walked to lead off the inning, advanced to second on Jenny Lazzari's sacrifice bunt and scored when Cindy Elkins doubled off the center field fence.

"I just wanted to hit the ball," said Elkins, a senior who has earned all-state honors each of the last three years and has signed with the University of Nevada. "I was looking for something i could drive and I got an outside fast ball.

"I was a little skeptical because Douglas has a good team, but I knew our team was capable of coming through in clutch situations."

After McGowan drew a walk, Elkins dashed home with the go-ahead run when Andrea Lazzari hit a sharp single that glanced off Pagen's glove. Then Jaclyn Picollo drove two more runs home with a triple to right field.

"Wooster obviously has a good hitting team," Douglas coach Rick Smith said. "I've read where they're one of the top 10 teams in the country and I can see why.

"But hopefully we will get to play them again tomorrow at noon and the girls know what they have to do to get there."


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