Tigers should still challenge for title

For just a few minutes last Saturday, you had to feel sorry for Douglas High softball coach Jim Puzey.

The Tigers' coach had already watched his daughter, Brittany, break her thumb sliding back into a base in a tournament in Las Vegas. She had surgery Tuesday, and is expected to miss the rest of the season. A blow to be sure on the mound and at the plate for Puzey, who has a good opportunity to start next year at Nevada.

On Saturday, at least for about an hour or two, Puzey and the Douglas High Faithful thought their chances for a regional repeat had been seriously jeopardized.

Kayla Dunn, one of three returning DHS pitchers, stepped on home plate in a game against Elko and immediately hit the ground clutching her knee. Hearing her screams of pain, you immediately thought torn cartilage or something just as bad or worse.

Dunn was on the ground for several minutes before being helped to her feet. Her parents took her straight to the hospital for diagnosis.

Kellei Kizer, the Tigers' other returning pitcher, pulled a muscle in the next game and was immediately removed from action by the elder Puzey, who could only shake his head at the Tigers' misfortune.

Dunn, who will attend Georgia Tech next year, was back at the tournament about two hours later, her leg encased in a brace. She had hyperextended her knee, and is expected to miss only a week to 10 days. Kizer also should return to action this week.

No doubt a big relief for the two players, the coaching staff and their teammates. Bad news for the rest of the Northern Nevada softball teams.

You just know that barring any other injuries, DHS will win the Sierra League championship and challenge for the regional title. This is a fun team to watch; a nice mixture of veterans like Puzey, Dunn, Kellei Kizer, Jessie Kizer and Smith (going to Columbia) mixed in with promising youngsters like Tish Luken, Lauren Hoppe and Dana Pardee.

POWERS CLOSING IN

Nevada baseball coach Gary Powers is 12 wins away from reaching the 700-win mark for his career.

Nevada is 14-10 thus far, which means, barring a prolonged slump by the team or injuries, he should reach the milestone sometime in late April or during the team's nine-game homestand in early May.

Powers doesn't talk much about it, but he has quietly developed one of the best programs on the Nevada campus in terms of consistency. His teams have won 30 or more games 13 times during his previous 22 seasons, and that's not a bad stat. He has guided the Wolf Pack to four regional NCAA appearances.

The Pack returns home for a nine-game homestand beginning on April 5 against California. Nevada also has WAC series' against Hawai'i (April 8-10) and San Jose State (April 15-17). Also on that homestand are nonconference games against Pacific and UC Davis.

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281

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