Tigers softball beats Damonte
BY JOEY CRANDALL
Nevada Appeal News Service
MINDEN - Even taking infield practice prior to the start of Thursday's game against Damonte Ranch, the Douglas High softball looked like a group fired up and ready to go.
The Lady Tigers were making athletic catches, crisp throws and tough stops. The only thing left was to see how it would translate into the actual game.
Pretty well, as it turns out.
Douglas' defense retired six of the first eight batters in the game and came out hammering the ball on offense with seven runs in the first two innings to roll to a 9-5 win in a battle between two of the top teams in the Sierra League.
"We had some nerves coming in, there's no question," Douglas right fielder Mackenzie Cauley said. "But that probably pumped us up even more. The infield session before the game was probably the best we have taken so far. That definitely set the tone for us."
After surrendering a single to open the game, Douglas pitcher Stephanie Harper induced a pair of fielders' choices to shortstop Emily Weaver and third baseman Marina Diaz and Damonte slugger Amanda Webster lined out to left fielder Mia Townsell to end the top half.
The Tigers then came out pounding the ball on offense as Weaver singled to lead off the bottom half and Cauley tripled to drive Weaver in. A Lauren Hoppe single brought Cauley in to score for the quick 2-0 lead.
"We came out hitting the ball and it just started flowing from there," Weaver, who finished the game 4-for-4 with two runs scored, said. "This is how we wanted it to go and it turned out really well. It was a great way to start the series.
"We knew we had to work hard because Damonte is a really strong team. We had to earn this one and we just executed well."
Harper surrendered another single to open the second but stuck out the next two batters and induced a grounder to Weaver to get Douglas back up to the plate.
Tiger second baseman Donna Judd bunted safely, Weaver belted a single to left and Judd scored when Cauley grounded into a fielder's choice.
Center fielder Lauren Hoppe then came up with what was perhaps the at-bat of the game for the Tigers when she belted a two-out, two-run home run over the left field wall on an 0-2 count. That put Douglas up 5-0 and a Marina Diaz single later in the inning drove in catcher Katrina Morgan and Harper to push the score to 7-0.
"We came out really strong," Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. "It was our best game of the year. It was just a complete game in every aspect. We showed a lot of patience at the plate and we didn't swing at bad pitches.
"It was exciting to see how they played."
Damonte brought four runs across in the top of the fourth, powered by a three-run home run off the bat of Tina Irwin.
Douglas came right back in the bottom half as Harper singled to bring Weaver and Cauley around to score, pushing the score to 9-4.
The Mustangs brought one more run across with two outs in the top of the seventh but Harper came up with a strikeout to end the game.
Harper struck out four and walked just one in taking the win.
Cauley went 3-for-3 with two RBI, Hoppe went 2-for-3 with three RBI, Harper went 2-for-2 with two RBI and Diaz went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Morgan and Judd each finished with a hit as well.
Douglas travels to Reno Saturday for a doubleheader at Damonte Ranch.
"I think we have to head in with the same attitude we came in with in this game," Weaver said. "We have to know that what we did today is what we have to do on Saturday. We have to come in with the same determination and focus."