Douglas softball scores key sweep
Kettja Bennett pitched a complete game five-hitter and the Douglas Tigers scored six runs in the top of the eighth inning to pull out a 7-2 Northern 4A softball victory against Reno in the second game of a double header on Saturday afternoon in Minden.
Douglas won the opener, 14-4, in a sweep of games that were closer than the final scores indicated. The games were switched from Reno due to wet grounds, though the Huskies were officially the home team for both games.
By winning, Douglas (7-1 conference, 12-4-1 overall) moved to within one-half game of first-place Spanish Springs in the conference standings. Reno dropped to 2-3 in conference (4-9 overall).
“We’ll take them,” Douglas coach John Glover said. “Reno is a good, well-coached team. That second game was a barn burner.”
In that second game, the Tigers moved out front to stay in the eighth inning when Haley Doughty drove the first pitch she saw into center field for a two-run double. Bennett drew a full-count walk to lead off the rally and Mackenzie Brixey reached on an infield hit to set the stage for Doughty, who came to the plate hit with one out.
Chloie Pratt and Casey Peck followed with back-to-back doubles to left field, then after the second out, Bailey Walter and Amanda Hoffman hit back-to-back doubles to drive home the final two runs.
The score was tied 1-all after seven innings. Douglas had taken a 1-0 lead with the aid of two errors in the first inning and the Huskies came back to tie the score with one run in the third on Alexia Young’s RBI double.
Bennett, in just her second start in the pitcher’s circle this season, allowed two runs (one earned) to go with eight strikeouts and just one walk. The junior right-hander threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of the 31 batters she faced.
“That was a good pitching outing for her,” Glover said of Bennett. “She kept the ball down and as a result of that got a lot of ground ball outs (14).”
Reno put its leadoff batter on base in the seventh inning, however, Bennett left the runner stranded on third base when she rang up a full-count called strike three.
Elora Collins pitched the distance for Reno, allowed seven runs on seven hits and homered in the bottom of the eighth.
Douglas scored four runs in the fifth inning to break a 4-4 tie and added six more runs in the sixth during a game called due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Pratt homered to lead off the sixth inning rally and Brixey tripled three runs home to extend the lead to 12-4 with two outs. Jasmine McNinch and Doughty added run-scoring singles to cap off the rally.
Pratt singled and Peck doubled to spark the Tigers’ fifth inning rally. Alyssa Smokey followed with a two-run double to left field and McNinch added an RBI single.
Smokey went 3-for-4 with three RBI, Pratt 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, Peck 2-for-3 with two RBI and McNinch 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Reno saw a rally stall in the fifth inning after a leadoff double as McNinch caught a fly ball in right field and doubled the runner off second base with her throw to Doughty.
Deztiny Vaughan earned the win as she allowed four runs on six hits over six innings to go with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
Douglas will continue an important stretch on its schedule with three games this week, including a 3:45 p.m. test at home against McQueen on Thursday and a 10 a.m. double header at Bishop Manogue on Saturday. Manogue has two losses in conference play — but has split a double header with Spanish Springs — and McQueen is 3-3, including a 7-6 loss to Douglas on March 15.