The game didn’t have an optimal start and the scoring came in unconventional ways, but the Douglas High School softball team took care of the most important statistic — the win column — in the first round of the regional playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
Douglas defeated Reno 4-3, overcoming an early deficit to advance to the second round.
Once there, Douglas cruised past Galena 9-1 to advance to Thursday’s regional semifinal against defending regional champion Damonte Ranch.
That game occurred after The R-C’s press deadline. Results will be available online Thursday evening.
On Tuesday, Kali Sargent pitched the Tigers to the win, striking out 11 and walking none while scattering five hits in the complete game effort.
Reno went up 3-0 in the first inning, all on unearned runs as Douglas committed two errors in the frame.
The Huskies then managed to put runners on second and third in the second inning before Sargent got out of the jam with a strikeout.
From there, Sargent held the Huskies to just two more hits in the game.
“She just has ice in her veins,” Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. “She is so good any time, but particularly in close games. She doesn’t show emotions out there, she never gets frustrated. She’s just a great pitcher.”
Offensively, Douglas managed to narrow the gap in the bottom of the third inning when Makayla Shaver led the frame off with a walk. Maddie Parks grounded to the pitcher, whose throw to second bounced into center field. The error allowed Shaver to score and Parks to move to third.
Katie Kluever then grounded out to second base, which brought Parks home, cutting the score to 4-2.
Until that inning, Douglas had not managed to get a runner on base.
“We started a little slow, but the kids just never gave up,” Mitchell said. “We started hitting the ball and we created some mistakes.”
The game turned in the fifth inning after Sargent singled with one out.
Shaena Robinson came in as a courtesy runner for Sargent and moved to second on a single from Shaver.
Parks grounded out, moving the runners to second and third, and Katie Kluever drew a walk to load the bases and set up the game’s decisive play.
Freshman Allison Meyer belted a single into center field, which brought Robinson in for the tying run.
Mitchell, who coaches third base for Douglas, held Shaver up at third, but Kluever had made a wide turn around second and Meyer had made a wide turn around first.
Reno had Kluever caught in a rundown, but Shaver managed to sneak home in the process — putting Douglas up 4-3.
Reno then turned its attention to Meyer, who was stranded between first and second, but no one was covering first. Meyer escaped back to first base and Kluever wound up at third on the play.
“I held Makayla up at third cause the girl had the ball at the infield grass,” Mitchell said. “Everyone else was being aggressive, which you can’t fault them with two outs. It ended up working out.”
Douglas couldn’t add any cushion from there, but Sargent shut the door in the sixth and seventh.
On Wednesday, Sargent was again stellar.
She pitched a complete-game three-hitter, striking out six and walking two as Douglas improved to 22-10 on the year.
Galena took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first and went quiet after that as Douglas tied it in the bottom of the first, went ahead in the bottom of the second, extended it to 3-1 in the fifth and put the game away with a six-run sixth.
Kelly Sonnemann doubled twice, driving in a pair of runs, Makayla Shaver doubled and drove in a run, Iliana Brown went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Katie Kluever scored three runs and drove in another, Sargent went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Allison Meyer and Maddie Parks each had a base hit.
Brown stole two bases in the game and Meyer and Kluever each drove in a run.