Just like last year, the Douglas High softball team is entering the Northern Division I Region Tournament as an under dog.
And that’s not a bad position for the Tigers, who are seeded No. 5 coming into a tournament that opens Thursday at Bishop Manogue High School in Reno. Douglas (18-12-2) plays a 12:30 p.m. first-round contest against No. 4 seeded Galena (19-13).
“I think we’re headed in a good direction,” Douglas coach Rob Parks said. “There is no easy pathway, there are no easy games at this point, but we feel confident about our chances.”
The tournament continues through Saturday at Manogue, with the two finalists advancing to the state tournament May 22-24 at the University of Nevada.
The Tigers are looking to repeat the playoff run they put together last year when, as the Sierra League’s No. 2 seed, they beat Reno (4-3), Galena (9-1) and Damonte Ranch (7-5) to reach the championship round. Their hopes of a region title and state tournament berth, however, ended when Reed came out of the losers bracket to sweep two games by identical 9-5 scores in the finals.
But first, there is a matter of getting past a formidable Galena squad in the first round. Galena swept its two-game league series from Douglas, 4-0 on April 17 and 6-3 on April 19, while the Tigers won 8-6 on April 5 at Reed’s Spring Tournament.
“Galena’s a good-hitting team and last time we didn’t do well against their pitcher (Caitlin Laycox),” Parks said. “We’ve got to do better ... we definitely want to win that first game.”
Laycox beat Douglas with a four-hit shutout in Minden and then scattered 11 hits to win the second game. The Tigers showed more offensive punch last week when they swept two games from arch rival Carson, winning 10-2 and 7-2 while collecting 12 hits in each game.
“We’re hitting better than we were in the middle of the season, which was one big reason why we were losing those close games,” Parks said, referring to a streak of five straight losses that were decided by a total of 11 runs.