Softball: Lady Tigers escape with win in extra innings

Things began well for the Douglas softball team Thursday afternoon and they ended well.

But for the six innings in between it was all about Carson pitcher Cassie Vondrak.

The Lady Tigers got a bases-loaded walk to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning in Minden and then escaped with a 4-3 win after Katrina Morgan scored on a passed ball one out later.

"It was a good ending and a good start," Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. "But we were not hitting well there for a while."

Douglas brought two runs across on one hit against Nikki Keller in the bottom of the first, forcing Carson to bring Vondrak into the circle with one out and the bases loaded.

After that, the Tiger bats went quiet.

Vondrak retired 20 of the next 21 Tiger batters, with the only exception being when she hit Marina Diaz with a pitch to lead off the fourth. She struck out seven and pitched no-hit ball into the second out of the seventh, when Emily Weaver singled to left.

"She was throwing well and we weren't putting the ball in play," Mitchell said. "We were chasing some two-strike pitches and we just needed to stay focused and stay tough, try to get some ground balls."

The Senators, in the meantime, worked their way back into the game, getting a one-out solo home run from Daria Leid in the fourth and bringing a run across on a two-out error with Elizabeth Cagle on third in the top of the sixth.

To that point, Douglas pitcher Stephanie Harper had also been pitching a gem, striking out eight and allowing just the Leid home run in terms of hits.

After the teams traded scoreless seventh innings, however, the opposing offenses found their stride.

Carson's Abby Rankl led off the top of the eighth with a single to left and Keller followed with a single to right. Vondrak drew a walk to load the bases and Loretta Cagle singled to center to bring Keller home for a 3-2 lead.

"I think Carson adjusted well to Stephanie and started to get comfortable as the game went on," Mitchell said. "Steph had a couple good games against them last year, so maybe they came in intimidated, but they got over it."

Douglas managed to get out of the inning , leaving the bases and Tiger slugger Lauren Hoppe led off the bottom half with a single to left.

Catcher Katrina Morgan then reached on a throwing error, which allowed Hoppe to advance to third. Morgan stole second on the next pitch, and the Senators issued Harper a no-out intentional walk to load the bases.

Mackenzie Cauley then battled through a nine-pitch at-bat before drawing a walk, which brought Hoppe home for the tying run.

Diaz then worked a 10-pitch at-bat before flying out to second.

Morgan Blomstrom came to the plate and the next pitch rolled underneath the catcher and to the backstop, allowing Morgan to score the game-winner.

"You know, the girls hung in there and came out swinging in the bottom of the inning and put some pressure on," Mitchell said. "We had good approaches in the last inning. It was good to see."

Douglas got its runs in the first from a Morgan single, which brought Donna Judd home, and a Cauley walk, which brought Hoppe in.

Douglas improved to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in Sierra League play with the win.


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