Yes, it's a long season. But the Douglas High girls softball team sure took advatage of opening Sierra League play against its rival, Carson.
The Tigers finished off a three-game sweep of the Senators by taking both games of a doubleheader against Carson on Tuesday, winning the opener 9-5 and the nightcap 7-0. Stephanie Harper went the distance in both games and pitched 22 innings for three complete game wins in the series. In the nightcap, Harper pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out six and walking three.
"You never really want to face your rival the first series out, but you can't change the schedule," Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said.
"I'm sure they'll be much stronger," Mitchell said about how he expects Carson to improve throughout the season. "We just had a good day."
But for Carson (7-4, 0-3), there's not much room for error now in the Sierra League race.
"Wow, I don't know what to say," Carson coach Scott Vickrey said. "We got beat all the way around.
"Dropping the first three in league is not the way we wanted to start. Everything from here out becomes a lot more important."
In the opener, Douglas broke through for a 2-0 lead in the third on Katrina Morgan's RBI double - the first of her three doubles - and Mackezie Cauley's RBI sacrifice fly. Douglas chased Carson starting pitcher Cassie Vondrak in the fourth when Lauren Hoppe belted a two-run double to make it 4-0. Morgan followed with an RBI double off of Nikki Keller to give Douglas a 5-0 lead.
Carson fought back to close to within 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth on Abby Rankl's two-run double and Keller's RBI single. After Vondrak hit a ball to the right side to move Keller to third, Keller scored on a fielder's choice to make it 5-4.
Douglas struck back in the sixth on Morgan's two-run double, giving her four RBI, and Cauley's RBI single to make it 8-4. Carson missed a chance to make things really interesting in the bottom of the sixth.
Katie McEwan doubled and Christa Casci singled. Rankl then hit an RBI single to make it 8-5 and give Carson runners at first and third with no outs. But Casci made a baserunning mistake when she tried to score on a ball in the dirt and Morgan tagged her out.
Keller's single still gave Carson runners at first and third with one out, but Harper got a comebacker and a groundout to escape the jam.
Daria Leid came on to pitch the seventh for Carson and allowed a run when she walked Morgan to force in a run to make it 9-5. Vondrak came back on to record the final out.
Weaver had three hits, Hoppe had two hits, Rebecca Trute doubled and Marina Diaz and Donna Judd each added a hit for Douglas. Rankl, Keller and McEwan each had two hits and Leid and Krista Mattice each added a hit for Carson.
In the nightcap, Douglas took a 2-0 lead on Morgan Blomstrom's two-run home run after Cauley singled. Douglas scored three in the fourth on the strength of Trute's RBI double and two runs scoring on an infield single by Diaz when an error was made on the play.
Blomstrom's RBI single made it 6-0 in the fifth and Cauley's RBI single made it 7-0 in the sixth. Blomstrom had three hits, Cauley had two hits and Weaver, Morgan and Hoppe all added a hit for Douglas.
"She got a rhythm and did a great job," said Mitchell about Harper. "She pitched two great games.
"I'm really happy with the way we hit the ball. We also got some big hits. It was a great day at the plate."
K.C. Withrow doubled and Rankl had Carson's other hit. Keller pitched a complete game, striking out five.
"It seemed like every time I looked up, they had their leadoff runner on base," Vickrey said. "They played exceptionally well. Harper (pitched) well. They hit the ball."
CHS JVS SWEEP
Carson (8-2, 3-0) swept the doubleheader against Douglas, winning the opener 18-3 and the nightcap 12-1.
Christina Gallegos pitched a complete game in the opener, striking out seven over five innings. Lisa Yamamoto had four hits - two homers and two doubles - six RBI and four runs, Lauren Knorzer had three hits, including a double, an RBI and four runs, Lindsay Burroughs had two hits, two runs and an RBI, Elayna Shine had two hits, two runs and three RBI, Alli Thompson had a hit, three runs and two RBI and Gallegos doubled with a run and two RBI.
In the nightcap, Natalie Morrow pitched a complete game, striking out 13 over six innings. Morrow also had two hits, including a home run, two RBI and two runs, Ashley Saarem had three hits, including a double, two RBI and a run, Megan Hein had a hit, two RBI and a run, Marcella Watson had two hits and a run, Breanna Perry had a double, two runs and two RBI and Knorzer doubled with two RBI.