Thursday afternoon, Douglas High softball looked for payback against a Spanish Springs team that had topped them twice already this season. Though the outcome didn’t change the Cougars as the top seed in the north, a Douglas win clinched the Tigers into the No. 2 slot for next week’s regional tournament. Douglas still has two contests remaining against Carson High (16-12, 9-5) Saturday before closing out the regular season, but Douglas knows it’ll be one of the top two squads going into regional play. Plus, they have the confidence of knowing they can potentially dethrone last year’s regional champs in Spanish Springs. “I think it’s just more motivation for us going into regional and state,” said Douglas starting pitcher Talia Tretton. “This whole team has been playing with each other since were seven or eight and our energy keeps rising for us.” Tretton ended Thursday night with 14 strikeouts including several of which that came on her changeup. “I think it’s one of my favorite pitches to throw,” added Tretton. “We’re pretty well in tune with each other. It’s just a matter of playing clean softball.” Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to McQueen kept Douglas from potentially snagging the No. 1 seed, but with a neutral field throughout the regional tournament, the Tigers won’t receive any home field advantage despite its high seed. Douglas has won 12 of its last 13 games after going 11-0 in the month of April. Tigers timely hitting scores two Douglas put at least one base runner on in every inning Thursday. However, facing Spanish Springs’ Hailey McClean – the returning Gatorade Player of the Year – theres’ no such thing as easy runs. The Cougar senior boats a 1.11 ERA after Thursday’s game, but allowed two runs thanks to some impressive hitting from Douglas when needed. In the third inning, Tretton drew a two-out walk, brining catcher Ryleigh Blaire to the dish. Blaire laced a double to the right field corner and drove in Tretton’s courtesy runner, Cam McClelland. Tretton proceeded to post three K’s in the fourth inning to quickly bring the Tigers back to the plate. Though Douglas didn’t capitalize on a LilyAnn Lee leadoff single in the fourth, the Tigers did get an insurance run in the fifth. Once again with two outs, Tretton drew a walk at the plate and Blaire followed by getting hit in the arm on the first pitch she faced. With Zora Simpson at the dish, she lined a groundball that got past the Cougar shortstop and into left field once again bringing in McClelland for an insurance run.
(Douglas High first baseman, Zora Simpson, lines a two-out single through the left side of the infield to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead over Spanish Springs Thursday afternoon. / Ron Harpin)
From there, Tretton posted five more strikeouts and allowed just two hits completing the shutout from the circle. “We knew the loss to McQueen took us out of the running for the league championship. It shows us the toughness that these girls have,” said Douglas head coach John Glover. “(Tretton) was awesome. She located. She pitched out of a couple jams. That’s as good as she gets right there.” UP NEXT: Douglas closes out its regular season at home with a doubleheader against rival Carson. The first pitch of game one is expected at 11 a.m.