Douglas High softball

Cardiac cats into state championship

Douglas High softball staves off elimination with seventh-inning rally

Douglas High senior outfielder Ava Delaney reaches out to make a play against Spanish Springs, during the Class 5A regional tournament. Delaney’s inside-the-park home run against Palo Verde in the Class 5A state tournament saved the Tigers from elimination and put them in the championship game for the third straight season.

Douglas High senior outfielder Ava Delaney reaches out to make a play against Spanish Springs, during the Class 5A regional tournament. Delaney’s inside-the-park home run against Palo Verde in the Class 5A state tournament saved the Tigers from elimination and put them in the championship game for the third straight season.
Photo by Ron Harpin.

The Tigers were down to their final three outs Friday night.

Douglas High School softball trailed Palo Verde, 2-1, in the top of the seventh inning in the consolation finals of the Class 5A state tournament.

Cam McLelland, who was taking her sixth at-bat of the season due to injury, started the top of the inning with a momentum-shifting big fly to center, tying the contest at 2-2

The junior turned on a 3-1 pitch and deposited it over the center field wall.

Next up was Ava Delaney, who had already doubled in contest.

Delaney looped a single to right field, which kicked over the head of the Palo Verde outfielder as the senior sprinted all the way around the bases.

An uncontested slide into the plate gave Douglas a 3-2 lead and served as the game-winning run.

Douglas advances to the Class 5A state title game, starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday) against Coronado at Bishop Gorman High School.

Coronado knocked off the Tigers, 8-3, in the first round of the state tournament, meaning Douglas will have to win twice in order to be crowned as back-to-back state champs.


TITLE GAME GOALS

For the third straight season, the Tiger softball team will be playing on the last day available for games in the spring.

Last year, Douglas cruised to a state title in Reno.

The year prior, the Tigers advanced to the championship game in need of one win against Green Valley, but dropped both games.

Saturday could resemble the ultimate redemption should Douglas pull out two more wins.

In order to reach the title game, Coronado fell behind Palo Verde in the state semifinals earlier in the day Friday, 4-0, after the top of the first.

The Cougars scored 15 unanswered runs to punch their ticket into the championship contest, winning 15-4.


MUST-WIN TERRITORY

Douglas started Friday’s do-or-die slate with their sixth meeting of the season against Spanish Springs.

The Tigers won the first five contests against the Cougars from Northern Nevada, but fell behind 1-0 in the first.

In the third, Annie Hill tied the game with an RBI single before Zora Simpson pelted a three-run shot over the left field fence.

In the fourth, Douglas expanded its lead thanks to a Talia Tretton two-run single.

Marissa McLelland stole home to give Douglas a 7-1 lead.

Spanish Springs scored three runs in the sixth, but Douglas once again defeated the Cougars, this time by a final of 7-4.

That setup the dramatic consolation final with Palo Verde.

Tretton may not have had her best stuff in the circle, but the Tigers worked their magic to give their ace a one-run lead into the bottom of the seventh.

The 2023 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year slammed the door shut with a two punch outs looking.

It might be a restless night for some of the Douglas team Friday evening, but Saturday the Tigers have a chance to conclude a historic three-year stretch with one of the greatest comeback stories in a long time.

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