Douglas upends Dortch, Miners
The Douglas High softball team picked up a crucial league win Monday afternoon, riding a four-run sixth inning to a 5-1 win over No. 4 Manogue in Minden.
The Tigers, currently ranked No. 5 in the region, got another stellar performance from Chelsea Fent in the circle along with solid defensive play behind her before pulling away late in the game.
Fent struck out four and walked three while allowing just the one run in out-dueling Manogue’s Megan Dortch, who is one of the top pitchers in the region. Dortch finished with eight strikeouts and four walks, while giving up eight hits and five runs.
“We’re really happy to get the win, Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. “Dortch is probably the best pitcher in Northern Nevada. Anytime you can get some hits and score some runs against her, you have to be proud of your team.”
The game was tied at one entering the bottom of the sixth when the Tigers broke through with the boost they needed to claim the win.
Brenna White led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Kalee Duryee reached on an infield single, moving White to third.
Emily Weaver, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI on the afternoon, then singled to send White home for what would prove to be the game-winning run. But the Tigers weren’t done just yet.
Maddy Gilbert drew a walk to load the bases and Morgan Blomstrom later stepped to the plate with two outs and drove a line drive into left field that carromed off the Manogue fielder’s glove and allowed the bases to clear.
Duryee, Weaver and Gilbert all scored on the play, setting the score at its final, 5-1.
“We just kept reminding the girls to make contact and put the ball in play,” Mitchell said. “They were gaining confidence throughout the game. We were getting opportunities, we just weren’t always getting them in.
“We had people on base almost every inning. The confidence kept building and we were able to string a couple hits together toward the end.”
Wind gusts of up to 40 mph, sometimes blowing out to straightaway left and othern time blowing in from right, made for an interesting playing atmosphere.
“It was really tough conditions to play in, but both teams battled through it,” Mitchell said. “We knew if we put pressure on Manogue, in weather like this and on our home field, there would be some opportunities. It was just a matter of what we did with them from there.”
Douglas took the early lead in the game when Weaver led off the bottom of the first with a sharp triple to the right field gap. She came in to score on a wild pitch to Brenna White.
Manogue was able to answer in the top of the third after the Miners loaded the bases with no outs.
The Douglas defense responded, though, allowing just a one-run single before getting out of the inning on a couple heady plays by the infield, including a diving catch from White at second base on a pop fly, and a pair of fielder’s choices that got the lead runner in both instances.
“We rely a lot on our defense,” Mitchell said. “We keep saying if our pitchers can throw strikes, we’ll be in good shape. You’ll have times where they aren’t hit to someone, but most of the balls put in play we’ll be able to make a play on.
“They take a lot of pride in the defense. These girls are smart players. They do a lot of situational work in practice and their dedication to it shows in games.”
Douglas improved to 7-3 overall and 6-1 in league play. The two schools were scheduled to meet Wednesday in Reno for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., pending the weather.