Region softball anybody’s game
Make no mistake about it, the Douglas High softball team is very happy to be seeded No. 3 coming into the start of the Northern 4A Region Tournament Thursday in Reno.
At the same time, however, coach John Glover realizes the Tigers still have a lot of work to do and that’s just looking at their opening-round game against No. 6 Damonte Ranch at 2:30 p.m. at Bishop Manogue High.
“We are excited to play Damonte Ranch,” Glover said. “They are one of the hottest teams in league. They’ve beaten some of the best teams in the league the last couple of weeks, so we will have a tall task in front of us, but the girls are up for the challenge.”
Douglas (14-6 conference, 21-9-1) and Damonte Ranch (12-8, 16-10) split a regular season doubleheader on April 21 in Minden. The Tigers cruised to a 10-1 win in game one and Damonte Ranch came back to win game two, 3-2, thanks to a three-run rally in the top of the seventh.
The Mustangs are 6-3 since that time and a mere four runs decided those three losses against McQueen, Spanish Springs and Carson. They swept No. 2 Manogue last week, 9-8 on Tuesday and then 16-11 on Thursday.
An eight-run fifth inning rally propelled the Mustangs past Manogue in that latter game, as Madison Felter homered and drove in five runs while Hailee Sutton and Anna Bonk both hit 4-for-5. As a pitcher, Sutton has won four straight decisions and has been 7-2 since the first week of April.
“Damonte is a well-rounded team,” Glover said of the Mustangs. They play the game hard and bring toughness to the field.”
Meanwhile, Douglas has a well-rounded lineup of its own with six regulars who are hitting better than .350 for the season — Mckenzie Brixey (.452), Casey Peck (.422), Haley Doughty (.394), Jasmine McNinch (.386) and Amanda Hoffman (.359). Six different Tigers have hit home runs this season.
The Tigers also go three deep on their pitching staff with Hoffman (7-2, 1.97 ERA), Deztiny Vaughan (6-4, 2.13) and Kettja Bennett (4-2, 1.68). Hoffman has 70 strikeouts in 67.2 innings, Vaughan 78 strikeouts in 72.1 innings and Bennett 34 strikeouts (with only one walk) in 33.1 innings.
Looking past the first round, the Douglas-Damonte Ranch winner will advance to play either Manogue or McQueen in the winner’s bracket semifinal Friday at 12:30 p.m.
Then again, there is no looking past game one in this tournament. Spanish Springs (20-2, 26-3) is the No. 1 seed and the Cougars have won 25 games or more in each of the last 11 seasons, highlighted by state championships in 2016, ’10 and ’08. Douglas dropped a narrow 3-1 decision at Spanish Springs on April 19.
Reed is the defending tournament champion and has an 11-3 record since April 1 and Carson has been 12-4 during that same time period. Even the final two seeds, McQueen and Reno, are not opponents that can be taken lightly. Just consider that in 2017 the sixth-seeded Reno Huskies defeated No. 3 Spanish Springs in the first round, 6-1.
“The tournament should be fun,” Glover said about the balanced eight-team field. “We are happy to be a part of it.”