There was nothing routine about Douglas High’s Class 5A state championship win over Centennial.
Even the last out – a shallow pop fly to left field – had a slight collision.
It still ended with a dog pile at the center circle with the Tigers on top, 6-4.
“I was crying on the field. I usually don’t cry but I am just so stoked,” said starting pitcher Talia Tretton. “It almost doesn’t feel real. It’s a goal that we’ve been working for the whole entire season.”
Douglas’ last softball state title came in 1992, ending a 33-year streak without a state crown.
It’ll be a season for the record books in more ways than one.
When it all pays off
A trophy you work that hard for tends to not weigh very much.
Tretton, with both arms snuggly wrapped around the prize, held the state title trophy as the team exited Hixson Park, beaming from ear to ear.
The contest was no certainty, despite Douglas having a pair of chances to cap the season as the state champs.
Tied 3-3 In the bottom of the sixth, the Tigers did what they’ve done best all season – hit home runs.
Senior Bre Williams in her final at-bat as a member of Douglas High softball, essentially clinched the title.
Maddie Gooch led off the inning with a walk, bringing the senior first baseman to the dish.
After fouling off the first pitch, Williams connected on a hanger and sent it out to center, giving Douglas a 5-3 lead.
“As a senior, it’s just crazy. It’s my last at-bat of high school,” Williams said. “I was just like hopefully it doesn’t hit the wall.”
Williams was 5-for-8 with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs over the course of the state tournament.
Though, she’s unsure if college ball is in her future, her clutch hitting in the biggest moment of her high school career won’t be forgotten for a long time.
When the Tigers have hit home runs this season, they’ve come in bunches.
Two batters after Williams broke the tie; Haley Wilkinson blasted a solo home run to left field to give Douglas a 6-3 lead.
Wilkinson was equally impressive out of the leadoff spot, going 8-for-13 with a home run in each of the three state tournament games.
(Bre Williams gets a hold of the tie-breaking home run, during the Class 5A state championship game against Centennial. Willams' two-run home run gave Douglas a 5-3 lead in the sixth. The Tigers went on to win 6-4. / Ron Harpin)
In the circle
Tretton didn’t have her best stuff of the season against Centennial.
That’s not to say she wasn’t effective when she needed to be, but the Bulldogs were able to scratch across a run in the top of the first and two more in the third
“Tal labored today. That’s not the best game I’ve seen her throw all year,” said Glover. “But the competitor that she is, she keeps us in it and she was a grinder today.”
By the end of the day, Tretton had fired 150 pitches, 90 of which were strikes.
She allowed four hits, three walks, two earned runs but rung up 10 batters in the course of the win.
Even in some tough spots, her demeanor never changed.
“Even if I knew I couldn’t strike them out and they did put a ball in play, I knew my defense was going to have it,” Tretton said.
The weight of last season
The Tigers were in the same spot last season, needing one win to secure a state title against Green Valley.
Douglas dropped both of those games to finish second.
The disappointment fed the Tigers this season.
“There was definitely more motivation. It made us really hungry to push harder,” said Williams.
It wasn’t a topic the coaching staff felt the need to address.
“I know that they wanted it bad. Last year was part of that equation, but I don’t know if we gave last year any thought at this tournament,” said Glover. “I don’t think it played much of a role other than to motivate us the entire year.”
Tretton echoed that sentiment.
“I think it really motivated us. We we’re talking about how that second place trophy looked kind of boring,” Tretton said. “We don’t like losing. We are very competitive.”
The season ends for the Tigers on a 25-game winning streak, which is the fourth longest winning streak in Nevada high school history.
Plus, there are more records on top of that.
Douglas shattered the NIAA all-time record for home runs in a season, ending the year with 67 in 37 games played.
The previous record was 60 – set in 2017 by a Palo Verde team that played 43 games.
Haley Wilkinson hit her 15th home run of the season in the state title game, tying her for sixth most home runs by an individual in a single season.
Reed’s Michelle Palaroan set the record in 1991 with 20 home runs.
As a team, Douglas hit for a .423 batting average, which will go down as the fifth best team average in NIAA history for a single season.
The Tigers hit 90 doubles as a unit this year, which is 11th all-time for a single season.
Tretton ends the year tossing four no-hitters this season, which is tied for fourth most in a single season alongside Centennial’s Shannon Crisp in 2004.
CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPS— Carter Eckl (@CarterEckl) May 20, 2023
Douglas takes down Centennial, 6-4, to win the state title. The Tigers cap a historic season with their 25th win in a row and most importantly a state championship pic.twitter.com/50b88MZh4D
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