Softball team is back on track |

Softball team is back on track

by Donnie Nelson

The Douglas High School softball team got back on track Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Hug.

The Tigers rallied from behind to win the first game, 7-2, and then jumped out to a quick lead and cruised to an easy victory in the second game, 13-0.

“It was a good sweep, we had to have it,” Douglas coach Mike Rippee said. “It was real important. To deal with the conditions and things like that, it was good.”

Douglas played without a couple of key starters – second baseman Tomasa Kizer and left fielder Jenny Smokey – in the first game because they were away taking tests. But, Lynette Bertucci and Kim Githens, among other, stepped in and did a fine job, according to Rippee.

Hug, which managed nine hits off Douglas starter Kim Gonzales, scored two runs in the top of the third inning in game one to take an early lead. Gonzales (4-0) went the distance, also giving up two walks while striking out one.

The cold and windy conditions may have been part of the reason the Hug bats found the ball on Gonzales’ spot pitches.

Douglas battled back with four runs in the fourth and three runs in the sixth to pull out the win. Brook Kizer had a triple and three RBIs, and Gonzales had a double and three RBIs. Rebecca Rippee added two hits, and Rosie Contri and Cathy Mauzey added one hit.

The Tigers scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and seven in the third in game two. Rippee had three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs. Brooke Kizer had a double and three RBIs.

Also for Douglas, Jenny Smokey and Gonzales had a hit and two RBIs, Michelle Roza had one hit and an RBI, and Contri and Goodspeed each had an RBI.

Douglas, 6-3 and in sixth place in league, plays one game at fourth-place Reed (4-1) on Friday and a doubleheader at McQueen (1-2) on Saturday.

“This week is really important,” Rippee said.

The Tigers don’t play at home again until April 24 when Elko pays a visit to the Valley.

Rippee said prior to the season the first few weeks would be very important. Although the Tigers are not off to a flying start, they are still in contention for a top three finish.

“You always want to be better, and it could have been better,” Rippee said. “When you look at the three losses, you see there’s a difference of four runs. If you take it deeper than that, you see there are three innings that made the difference. But, you have to credit the other teams (Galena, Lowry and Fallon) for coming up with the big hits at the big times.

“I figured this is really where we might be be, but the losses are not where I though they would be. But, Lowry was the only one we should have won.”

Gonzales is 4-0, but she has been hit at times.

“Until they count hits as runs, we’ll be alright,” Rippee said. “She doesn’t give them up in succession, she scatters them around.”

The Tigers have been swing some big lumber lately. Rebecca Rippee, who has been moved into the leadoff position, has been knocking the cover off the ball all season.

“She’s been really hot the last few games,” Coach Rippee said. “What’s nice to see with Rebecca is she’s being patient and seeing the ball well.”

Brooke Kizer and Gonzales have also come up with several timely hits so far this season. However, what’s perhaps impressed Rippee more the number of hits has been the lack of strikeouts, an average of less than two per game.

“When you put the ball in play, good things happen,” Rippee said.

Tomasa Kizer and Jenny Smokey have also shown power at the plate.

“They’ve all been doing a good job,” Rippee said. “Some are in a slump, but it’s only been two weeks so I’m not worried.”

Defensively, the Tigers have committed a few untimely errors but, for the most part, they have been solid around the diamond and in the outfield.

“The girls play well behind (Gonzales),” Rippee said. “She’s so good at getting in the key pitch at the right time.”

Lori Shephard has also turned in some high-quality performances and Cathy Mauzey has proved to be a valuable No. 3 starter in the circle.

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