Big first inning sends Douglas softball past Carson
MINDEN — On a day better suited for Polar Bears than high school softball, Jodi Gonzales stood out for Douglas High School.
First of all, the senior pitcher was the only player on the field wearing short sleeves in a snow blizzard when the Tigers hosted Sierra League against arch rival Carson on Thursday afternoon. It didn’t seem to matter, though, because Gonzales pitched five-hit ball and struck out eight in a 13-3 victory against the Senators.
Douglas (7-4 in league) scored six runs in the first inning and then scored four runs in the fifth to close out the game on the 10-run rule against Carson (6-5).
By that time, the snow was blowing horizontally and starting to stick to the ground. And Gonzales never did put on her long sleeves to throw.
“The sleeve on my turtleneck goes down over my hand and that makes it hard to throw,” said Gonzales, a third-year varsity veteran for the Tigers. “I was freezing, but I just had to stick it out.”
Gonzales started strong by striking out the side in the top of the first inning.
“That was a really big rush,” she said. “I thought that set the tone for the game.”
The Tigers continued their momentum in the bottom half of the inning when Allie Walling, Kaycee Wilcks and Lindsey Rollins drew walks to load the bases with no outs. Walling had to leave the game when she stole second base and sustained a knee injury in a collision at the bag — the injury was not serious, according to coach Rick Smith.
Then Carson appeared to get a reprieve when freshman pitcher Brittany Puzey grabbed a comebacker and threw to catcher Baylee Biber to start a 1-2-3 double play. The reprieve was only temporary, though, because Ashley Hartley was issued an intentional walk to load the bases again and Ashley Arneson followed with a bloop double into right-center that drove two runs home.
“We walked some people, then we get a double play and it looks like we get a fly ball to end the inning, but it falls and two runs score,” Carson coach John Sullivan said. “We you get down 6-0 in softball, that’s hard to come back against one of the better teams in the league.”
Freshman Valerie Smith lined a double off the fence in right-center to drive two more runs home, Stevie Smith hit a ground ball single into right field to drive another run home and Tasha McCann picked up an RBI on her pop fly single over first base to give Douglas a 6-0 lead.
Carson threatened in the top of the second when Bethany Henry walked, Lindsay Farnworth singled and Lindsey Farnworth walked to load the bases with no outs. Gonzales got a comebacker and got the force out at home, then struck out the next two batters to retire the side.
“Jodi really stepped up today. She had her rise ball going and she was hitting her spots,” Smith said. “She was coming off a couple of tough losses to Wooster, but she threw well in both games, so she deserved to get a win.”
Carson cut the deficit to 7-2 in the third inning when Kaylee Risi doubled, Kayla Dunn singled and Bethany Henry lined a single back up the middle to drive both runners home. Dunn hit a line drive home run over the right-center field fence to make it 9-3 in the fifth.
The Tigers closed it out against freshman pitcher Amanda Carvin in the bottom half of the inning with the aid of three walks and singles by Devon Bateman and Stevie Smith.
“Mandy came in to pitch in a tough situation there in the first inning and I thought she did a good job,” Sullivan said. “That last inning, it was so cold and the snow was blowing in her face, it was pretty hard to grip the ball.”
Douglas got six hits and seven runs from the bottom half of its batting order. No. 8 hitter Stevie Smith went 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Both teams will be at home to play league doubleheaders on Saturday as Carson plays Hug and Douglas faces North Valleys.
Kristy Olsen hit a three-run home run in the first inning to put Douglas on top while Kellei Kizer pitched a complete game and struck out 15 as the Tigers avenged their only loss of the Sierra League season with a 7-2 victory at Douglas.
Douglas is now 7-1 in league (17-2 overall) and Carson 10-2. The two teams have split their two games and meet again on April 30 in Carson City.
Amber Rackley pitched the distance for Carson, struck out eight and walked four.
Ashley Miller hit 2-for-3 to lead the Senators offensively and Heather Diamond was 1-for-3.