RENO – There was no waiting around for Douglas High softball Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Class 5A state softball tournament.
Douglas jumped all over the No. 2 seed from the south, Palo Verde, with two runs in the bottom of the first and three more in the second.
The early run support led Douglas to an 8-3 win and put the Tigers into the state semifinals Friday at 2:45 p.m. back at Hixson Field.
The Tigers will play Reed after the Raiders bested Centennial, 6-3.
Talia Tretton, who served as the starting pitcher, belted a solo home run in the first inning.
Tretton’s long ball was Douglas’ 61st home run as a team this season, breaking the NIAA all-time state record for team home runs in one season.
In the circle, the junior Class 5A North Player of the Year fanned nine over seven innings of work.
The junior was also 4-for-4 at the plate.
Douglas’ approach at the plate determined everything.
The Panthers continued to pitch the Tigers away at the dish, but Douglas stayed patient and timed their pitch.
In the second inning, Bre Williams led off by doubling to the opposite field.
Annie Hill singled on a bunt, Cam McClelland walked and Haley Wilkinson went back to right field with a two-run single.
Wilkinson made it 4-0 before Tretton drove in her second run in as many innings with a double, giving Douglas a 5-0 lead.
“Our whole approach is right side, but if they decided to throw us down the middle or in, adjust and hit it,” said Tretton. “I’m pretty sure everyone in our lineup, if you give us an inside pitch, or down the middle, we’re probably going to send it.”
In the fourth, Wilkinson hit a missile to right field that went roughly 60 feet over the wall to make it 6-0 on a solo shot.
The ball carried over the scoreboard and hit the trees in right-center, carrying roughly 270 feet or more.
“It was unbelievable,” said Douglas head coach John Glover.
Williams added another run on a solo shot that snuck just inside the left field foul pole. McClelland drove in the eighth Tiger run with her second RBI of the day in the bottom of the fifth.
“Throughout our season, I feel like we adjusted a lot to outside hitting from where we started from,” said Williams.
Douglas tallied 13 hits in total, coming from six different spots in the lineup.
Wilkinson continued to tick her batting average up, as she was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Williams ended the afternoon 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
Hill, the Tigers’ freshman left fielder, was 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
Douglas chased Palo Verde’s starting pitcher after four batters and forced the Panthers to rotate through a trio of pitchers to get through the contest.
“I thought we did a good job at hitting mistakes today,” said Glover.
Pitcher, catcher combo
Tretton’s stuff only looked hittable once the contest was out of reach.
Palo Verde tallied its first hit in the third, but only managed a few more over the rest of the game.
The Panthers’ three runs came in the final two innings after Douglas has established an 8-0 lead.
“I’ve talked about their resiliency a bunch,” Glover said. “Every day, they don’t surprise me. It’s really fun. To be honest, we just sit back and let them play. We (the coaches) giggle as much as anyone. It’s really fun to watch.”
Only one of those runs was charged to Tretton.
Catching for Tretton was freshman Peyton Simpson, who has stepped into a huge role this season behind the dish.
“Our catchers do a great job of hyping us up as pitchers,” said Tretton, who threw 78 strikes on 112 pitches.
Of Tretton’s nine strikeouts, six came on swings and misses.
The win marked Douglas’ 23rd consecutive victory, tying the Tigers for fourth-most consecutive victories in NIAA history.
“We just need to continue to do what we’ve been doing and that’s it,” Williams said.