Douglas blanks South Tahoe | RecordCourier.com
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Douglas blanks South Tahoe

by Chuck Smock

It took the Tigers some time to get things going in their Northern 4A Conference softball opener with South Tahoe on Thursday, but the final result never seemed in doubt at the DHS diamond.

Douglas scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on its way to a 6-0 win over the Vikings.

The Tigers finished with six hits, but had a total of 13 base runners in six innings.

“We were hitting the ball, but they had us played well,” Douglas coach Ken Carr said. “They knew that we would pull the ball, but the girls were hitting the ball, so I figured we’d get our swings and we’d eventually get some runs.”

Tigers senior Jodi Gonzales pitched a complete-game, five-hit shutout. She struck out three and did an excellent job changing speeds to prevent the Vikings from getting comfortable in the batter’s box.

“Jodi pitched a good, solid game,” Carr said. “She got her off-speed stuff going and kept them off-balance. She was really hitting her spots. Once she got her change(up) going, they couldn’t camp and wait for the hard stuff.”

The Tigers allowed only two Vikings to get past first base.

They erased the first, Emily Sullivan, when center fielder Jeannette Holt made a perfect throw to catcher Tasha McCann, stopping Sullivan between third and home after a single by Tammy Cowen. McCann threw to third baseman Cheryl Nicoll, who chased Sullivan back toward home and then fired the ball to McCann for the final out of the third inning.

South Tahoe’s Stefanie Terry singled to lead off the top of the fourth. She stole second and went to third on a wild pitch, but Gonzales settled down and struck out the next two Vikings to end the threat.

“South Tahoe has gotten better because they’ve been playing summer ball,” Gonzales said. “We knew we were going to have to work harder than we have in the past against them.”

The Tigers took advantage of two walks and two errors to scored three runs in their half of the fourth.

McCann and Bateman each walked. Then, with two outs, Allie Walling reached base on an error that allowed McCann to cross home plate.

With Bateman on third base, Carr called for Walling to steal second. The throw from Tahoe catcher Jill Barna went between the Vikings’ two middle infielders, allowing both Bateman and Walling to race home.

Rollins led off the fifth inning with a ground-rule double. She scored to make it 5-0 Tigers when Gonzales reached base on an error.

Hillary Moreira smacked a pinch-hit, ground-rule double to lead off the sixth inning. She scored the final run when the Vikings again failed to execute their pickoff play with runners on the corners.

The at-bat was the first of the season for Moreira, a two-time all-league player who has been hampered by a hamstring injury.

“It was good to see her back with the bat,” Carr said. “I figured all she would have to do, with as much adrenaline as she had going, was just touch the ball and it was going to go someplace real fast and real far. It’s good having her back.”

The senior said it’s been tough being relegated to the dugout through the first six games of the season.

“I can’t stand to sit back and watch,” she said. “It’s just too hard.”

And she added that she wasn’t surprised to see the Tigers get stronger as the game went on.

“That’s how it was a lot last season, and we have a lot of returning players,” she said. “We’ve always kinda come together at the end of games. We were a little weak in the beginning of the game, but we pulled through and we got it.”

Holt scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the second inning. She singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Gonzales and scored when McCann smashed a double off the glove of Tahoe third baseman Stefanie Terry.

“I’m real satisfied,” Carr said. “The girls played well. I was proud of them. Everybody contributed.”