Douglas rallies to win regional opener
Down 1-0 against Galena in the sixth inning, there was a very distinct possibility Douglas High School was headed into the losers bracket of the Northern 4A Regional Softball Tournament on Thursday afternoon.
No way, if you were to ask senior shortstop Lindsey Rollins.
“I never pictured us in the losers bracket,” Rollins said. “We’re a really strong team, so I knew we could come back and get the job done.”
Rollins came through with a key base hit and scored the tying run in the sixth inning, then Devon Bateman dashed home on a two-out throwing error in the bottom of the seventh as Douglas rallied to defeat Galena 2-1 in the opening-round contest at Carson High School.
Douglas (26-9) plays High Desert League champion Reed (25-5) today in a winners bracket contest at noon.
The Tigers only had three hits against Galena ace Jenn Molinari through five innings.
“We knew going in that Molinari is a tough pitcher, so the girls were a little tight coming into this,” Douglas coach Rick Smith said. “We have three seniors and a lot of underclass girls that have never been to this tournament but they stepped up.”
Rollins reached on an infield hit with one out in the sixth and came around to score when Ashley Hartley’s chopper to the right side was misplayed for an error.
Galena had runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the seventh, but Teresa Miller’s line drive to center field was caught by Cheryl Nicoll, then Rollins caught a pop fly at deep shortstop and doubled off a runner at second to end the inning.
Pinch-hitter Devon Bateman lined a single over third base to start the Tigers in the bottom half of the inning.
“Devon came up huge,” Smith said. “She has a quick bat so I made the decision to put her in and she made me look like a genius.”
Nicoll advanced Bateman to second with a sacrifice bunt, then after a pop fly out, speedy leadoff hitter Allie Walling hit a slow chopper between second and third. The ball was thrown away, allowing the winning run to score.
Katie Pagen pitched the distance to earn the win, allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked three. The junior right-hander isn’t overpowering, but she doesn’t give up much to hit.
“It’s her location and the movement of her pitches,” Smith said. “I know where Katie can put the ball and she puts it right where she wants to.”
Galena broke a scoreless tie with one run in the fifth when Brittney Ross hit a ground rule double that bounced over the left-center field fence and scored on Miller’s double. Moments later, Miller tried to score on Stevie Shepard’s hit to center field, but Nicoll gunned down the run with a strike to catcher Tasha McCann.
“Cheryl came up gunning and Tasha dug that ball because it looked like it was in her chest protector loose and she pulled it out and made the play. That was huge,” Smith said.