Douglas High School pitching coach Kali Sargent signals during the 5A state softball tournament over the weekend at Hixson Field in Reno. Sargent has been the Tigers’ pitching coach for the last two seasons, but has spent much more time than that with the Tiger hurlers.
Photo by Ron Harpin.
The starting pitching for Douglas High School softball dominated this season.
The offense tallied up most of the state records, but the workload of the two future Division I pitchers on the roster was equally important in the Tigers’ run to their first state title in 31 years.
The dugout also welcomed back a friendly face at the beginning of the 2022 season that impacted the road to hanging a banner.
Kali Sargent stepped back in to help the program she came from herself.
Sargent went on to pitch at Sacramento City College and then at Nevada.
The 2015 Douglas High School graduate started serving as a volunteer coach for youth basketball and softball in Douglas County not long after leaving Douglas High.
The athletes and other coaches on the staff couldn’t have asked for a better fit.
“She’s just a huge, huge part. She’s been there through every single pitch with us,” said Class 5A pitcher of the year Mackenzie Willis. “She has really helped me with my mental game and my confidence. She’s really helped me learn who I am.”
For pitcher Talia Tretton, it hasn’t just been Sargent by her side.
Sargent’s mother, Dena (Pitts) Sargent, has been part of Tretton’s pitching coach duo since her middle school days.
“She’s been here for two years, but Kali and her mom have been my pitching coach since I was in sixth grade,” said Tretton, who was the Class 5A North player of the year. “They’ve changed me not only as a pitcher, but as a person. I am forever thankful for them. They are the reason I am a pitcher and the person I am today.”
Dena Sargent was the Tigers pitcher who led Douglas softball to its last state titles in 1991 and 1992.
Kali Sargent, who was pitcher of the year as a sophomore, said she joined the high school staff as a way to give back.
“I just call the games and watch them do great. … I wanted to give back to my own people and there’s no better way than to give back to my own school,” said Sargent. “It’s emotional. It’s a lot to come in, come back home to UNR where I played and then see my girls be here.”
Her mother, Dena, had a few tears in the parking lot postgame thinking about the journey to see the Tigers win another state title.
“That girl has worked her butt off to get here. It just makes me want to cry because I know what she’s been through,” said Dena Sargent. “I’ve always been rooting for them to do it again.”
The community built around the softball program has shown up in more ways than one as former coaches and players were also in attendance to see the Tigers capture a state crown.