Lady Tigers have new look

Things are going to look a little different at Lady Tiger Field this spring.

Despite returning seven players who started last season, the Douglas High School softball team is going to be an entirely different program, from the dugout to the plate to the basepaths.

"We've really just been working on keeping our head down and focusing on getting to know each other these first few weeks," said Tigers' first-year coach Lori Raschilla. "The kids are still figuring out what we're expecting of them, but they are extremely coachable, they are respectful and they are working hard."

There will be some shuffling around with the lineup early in the year, but it appears that there will be plenty of familiar faces for the Tigers (25-10 overall and 12-3 in league play last year), although most of those will be at different spots.

Senior Mitzi Olsen, who compiled a 4-1 record in the circle last year, will make up half of the Tigers' starting pitching rotation while 2005 All-Sierra League and Sierra Nevada Sports Media All-Region outfielder Lauren Hoppe will shift from left to center this season to anchor Douglas' lineup.

Junior Tisha Luken, an honorable mention all-leaguer at second base last year, will start at short for the Tigers this year and senior Skylar Zulian, an honorable mention outfielder, will fill a variety of roles for the Tigers.

It also appears that senior Jolie Kizer has locked up the starting spot at first base this year, while 2005 starters Felicia Imelli and Nicole LaPorte are expected to contribute to the Tigers' solid core of veterans.

Outside of that, Douglas will be welcoming a rather large class of newcomers, headed by freshmen Stephanie Harper and Donna Judd.

"Donna's a switch-hitting utility player - she's just very quick, intense and smart," Raschilla said. "She's very promising."

Harper will form the other half of Douglas' starting pitching tandem.

"Stephanie is very strong for a freshman," Raschilla said. "She's been well-coached and has a lot of experience in tournament play. She and Mitzi will compliment each other very well. Mitzi has been very accurate and has been hitting her spots. They'll both be strong for us."

Raschilla said the team will most likely use a platoon at catcher as well, with Kayla Moore catching Olsen and junior Dana Pardee catching Harper.

She said she has a large number of talented and promising new players that she can cycle in and out at second base, third base and the remaining two outfield spots, led by Morgan Barone and rounded out by Michelle Nenzel, Angella Stephenson and Keri Villalobos.

"Morgan is always out there hustling and giving a lot of effort," Raschilla said. "She can fill in at a lot of spots and put in 110 percent. They all can play a lot of places.

"We're very deep and very flexible. I love it. We can mix and match just about everyone out there. That will work to our advantage as the season goes on."

Raschilla said the team has a lot of speed and will most likely use it in the top three spots to get runners on and over.

"We've definitely got some pop, but we're going to focus on playing little ball to get the runners on and do what we can to pop them in," Raschilla said. "We have a lot of speed and we plan on using it."

She also said that while the focus has primarily been on fundamentals, she'll also institute some more aggressive plays to shake things up a little.

"We're talking about your out-of-the-box, non-vanilla type of plays," Raschilla said. "It should be fun."

Douglas gets its first taste of action this weekend at a tournament in Stockton, Calif., and will then come back home to take on rival Carson at 3:30 p.m. March 16 in Minden.

-- Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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