Douglas softball team caps successful season
Douglas High softball coach John Glover expressed his concern last week about the pros and cons of relying on the long ball.
“I’d rather we didn’t live and die by the home run,” Glover said with a smile on Thursday after the Tigers homered three times in an 8-5 win over Basic to open at the NIAA 4A State Tournament in Reno.
On Saturday morning, the season ended when Spanish Springs ace pitcher Tyra Clary turned in a gutsy seven-hit complete game performance and kept Tigers hitters inside the ballpark to help the Cougars secure a 6-2 win in the state championship game at Bishop Manogue High.
Spanish Springs (33-3) scored five runs in the fifth and sixth innings and then held off a comeback bid by Douglas (24-13-1) in the seventh at Bishop Manogue High School in Reno as the Cougars secured their fifth state title since 2007.
Douglas was 0-4 against Spanish Springs in the region and state tournaments, yet held leads in three straight games before Saturday’s final. Six Tigers combined to hit 16 home runs in nine postseason games, however, they only went deep three times in those four meetings against Spanish Springs and had none in the championship game.
Give credit to Clary, a sophomore who compiled a 28-1 record this season on her way to earning Northern 4A Pitcher of the Year honors for the second straight year.
There were more than a few anxious moments in the first inning after Clary was hit in the leg by a sharply-hit ball off the bat of Douglas senior Chloie Pratt. The hit went for a single, however, the Tigers had their lead runner on the play thrown out at third for the inning-ending out.
Clary remained on the ground for about two minutes and walked gingerly as she was assisted by coaches back to the dugout. Ice was applied on her leg while the Cougars hit in the bottom half of the inning, and Clary returned to pitch the rest of the way.
Casey Peck doubled and Alyssa Smokey singled to start the second, however, Clary settled down to retire the side on two strikeouts and a comebacker.
Spanish Springs moved out front in the bottom half of the inning on Kilee Pender’s two-out, bases loaded single to right field.
The Cougars extended their lead to 3-0 in the fifth, aided by Alysa Micone’s RBI triple. Pender hit another RBI single and Courtney Huff hit a two-run double in the sixth when the Cougars scored three times to make it 6-0.
Douglas threatened in the seventh when Peck was hit by a pitch, Smokey singled and Amanda Hoffman walked to load the bases with no outs. One run scored as the Cougars turned a ground ball double play and Kendal Moore followed with an RBI single to right field before Clary closed out the game on a fly out to Amidori Anderson in left field.
Hoffman started in the pitcher’s circle for Douglas and allowed three runs on five hits over 4.1 innings before Deztiny Vaughan came out of the bullpen.
As for those postseason home runs, here is the final tally the Tigers amassed: Haley Doughty hit six (four in the region tournament), Pratt four, Smokey three, while Bennett, Moore and Peck added one each. Of the 16 homers, nine came with runners on base.
The state tournament was the first for Douglas since 2004. This marked the second state runner-up finish (2004 and 2018), to go with back-to-back state titles in 1991-92.