Second-year South Tahoe softball coach Joann Allister wants the days of moral victories against the traditional Sierra League softball powers to be over. Judging by her reaction to Tuesday's 11-3 loss to Douglas, maybe they already are.
"If it wasn't for that one inning, we're right there with them," Allister said of the Tigers, a perennial playoff team in the 21st century. "We're an inning-by-inning team " and some of this is mental " but we can play with them."
The Vikings (4-9 overall, 4-6 league) fell three games behind Douglas in the league standings. The Tigers improved to 14-7 overall and 7-3 in league.
The game started out as a positive home opener for the Vikings, who hadn't played at Field of Dreams this early in the season in at least three years. After all, STHS made only one error in the first five innings.
But Douglas, which has five sophomores and two freshman on its roster, took advantage of five STHS errors in final two innings to secure the win. Leading 4-1 after five innings, the Tigers scored five runs in the sixth inning and added two more in the seventh.
"We're not overpowering by any means and we're not there offensively yet, but we're improving," said first-year DHS coach Andy Mitchell. "We're a very young team, but I like our team chemistry."
Lauren Hoppe put the Tigers up 2-0 in the first inning with her two-run home run and South Tahoe never held the lead. Hoppe, Angie Stevenson and MacKenzie Cauley all went 2 for 4 with a combined four RBI and three runs scored.
Douglas pitcher Stephanie Harper struck out eight batters and walked just one in the complete-game victory. The Vikings touched Harper for seven hits and were led by Danielle Lowe and Brittany Barcellos, who both went 2 for 3 with a run scored.
Janell Contaxis went 1 for 3 and belted a RBI double in the bottom of the sixth that
made it 9-2. Jennifer Schmedes also added a hit for South Tahoe, which hosts Damonte Ranch on Thursday.
"We lost to Damonte 3-1 at the Hug tournament earlier this season," Allister said.
"But obviously they've improved because they are now in second place in the league. I am hoping we can get one from them and stay with Douglas for the fourth playoff spot. We have the talent."