Douglas softball team shocks Reno to advance to regional semifinals
By Joey Crandall
Just like that, the Douglas High School softball team is one of the final three teams standing in the Northern 4A Regional Tournament.
The Lady Tigers pulled off a stunning 2-1 upset of Sierra League champ Reno High Friday afternoon at Carson to advance to the regional semifinals against Reed Saturday morning. Douglas staved off elimination earlier in the day with an 8-4 win against Carson.
“I’m pretty much speechless,” Teary-eyed Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. “The Carson win was big, but I couldn’t have imagined this. For us to come back and beat these guys is just huge.”
Stephanie Harper was strong throughout the afternoon in the circle for the Tigers. She struck out six and walked two while pitching a complete-game two-hitter against the Huskies, a squad that put up 50 runs in just three games on the Tigers earlier this season.
Earlier in the day, she struck out eight and walked two in the win over Carson.
“She is a total workhorse,” Mitchell said. “The load has been on her this week and she’s thrown really tough.
“Her confidence has improved so much over the course of the season so that she really trusts herself and comes out firing. She’s really good at hitting her spots and she just did an incredible job today.”
Both teams held each other scoreless through the first three innings, but Reno got up 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Britton Murdock drew a walk to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Jessica Pauletto.
Hailey Corthell then punched a single through to score Murdock.
The teams each went scoreless through the fifth, but Douglas came out firing in the top of the sixth.
Freshman Emily Weaver, fresh off turning a nifty catch-and-tag line drive double play at third base to end a two-on, one-out scoring threat, looped a single to center to lead things off.
Mackenzie Cauley then bunted safely, placing the ball neatly past Reno pitcher Ashleigh Rahming.
Lauren Hoppe singled to center to load the bases and Tisha Luken sacrificed Weaver home to tie the score at one.
Freshman Katrina Morgan then singled Cauley, a sophomore, home for the eventual game-winner.
“We’re a young team,” Mitchell said (His squad boasts nine underclassmen, six of whom started against Reno. “It took a while for the girls to realize that they are a solid group of softball players.
“Once that happened, they just started coming together in the middle of the year. Their confidence really showed in the way they played today.”
Harper struck out two and induced a ground out to get out of the sixth without allowing a hit. The excitement really set in during the bottom of the seventh, however.
Reno’s Hailey Corthell blistered a double off the right field wall to lead off the inning and was sacrificed to third by Kari Losure. Harper turned around and struck out Nicole Rahming on four pitches and then Naomi Garcia grounded out to second baseman Donna Judd to end the game, setting off a celebration in the Douglas dugout.
Earlier in the day, Douglas got a 4-for-4 performance at the plate from Cauley, along with three RBIs from Hoppe and two RBIs from Tisha Luken to get past Carson.
Emily Weaver scored three runs in the game and Cauley scored twice. Chloe Trudell and Morgan each drove in a run as well.
Douglas improved to 25-11 overall with the wins.
Spanish Springs awaits the winner of the Douglas-Reed game. All of Saturday’s games will be played at Carson.