Softball: Tigers pull off another shocker to advance to regional title game | RecordCourier.com

Softball: Tigers pull off another shocker to advance to regional title game

Staff Reports

After Friday’s stunning upset of Sierra League champ Reno High, anything was possible for the Douglas softball team.

They proved as much in the first game of the day Saturday, advancing to the regional title game with a 6-5 victory over the Reed Raiders — the same team that beat the Tigers 13-3 two days ago to open the tournament.

Douglas ran into a wall against top-ranked Spanish Springs in the title game, losing 7-1, but still finished as the surprise regional runner-up.

Spanish Springs’ Mallary Darby fanned 14 and walked one in throwing the four-hit win.

“I’m just so proud of the girls,” Douglas coach Andy Mitchell said. “We

were happy to be playing today. Not that we were settling.

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“Darby is such a great pitcher. We haven’t seen a pitcher like that all

year. It’s hard to adjust. The girls did an awesome job. We were right

there until one swing of the bat by (Danielle) Ming.”

Mitchell was referring to the bottom of the fourth inning when Spanish

Springs batted around and snapped a 1-all tie with three runs.

Mallary Darby hit a bloop single that barely eluded the grasp of Douglas first baseman Marina Diaz. After Courtney Darby popped out, Alex Arciniega was hit with a pitch. Ming followed with a homer off the scoreboard in left field to make it 4-1.

Spanish Springs loaded the bases on a double and two walks, but

Jennifer Martensen rolled into a fielder’s choice for the third out.

Just for good measure, the Cougars scored three more in the fifth.

MacKenzie Cauley led off the Douglas sixth with a bloop single, but

Mallary Darby retired the dangerous Lauren Hoppe on a foul pop fly to

third and then the next two to end the inning.

Douglas battled throughout against Reed in the morning

elimination game.

Trailing 5-3 entering the seventh, Hoppe led off with a single against

Kristy Pasley. Tisha Luken followed with a single to right, and Hoppe reached

third when the ball was bobbled. Luken took second on the play.

Reed ace Chelsea Cohen came on, and proved no mystery to the Tigers.

Morgan hit an 0-2 fastball for a two-run double, tying the game at 5.

Harper followed with a liner that hit Cohen in the stomach and rolled

across the first base line. Both Cohen and catcher Erica McKenzie went

to retrieve the ball, and Morgan alertly raced home with the go-ahead

run, barely beating a lunging tag.

“I saw it (Harper’s ball) hit her,” Morgan said. “I rounded third hard

and nobody was at home, so I thought I might as well risk it.”

“She’s a real strong player,” Harper said. “I’ve been playing on the

same team with her for four years. She’s a really heads-up player.”

Cohen retired the next three hitters to end the inning.

Harper gave up a lead-off single in the seventh and was sacrificed to

second. Harper struck out Justine Cooper looking and retired Natalie

Ceccarelli on a soft liner to Luken at shortstop.

Harper fanned six and walked six, but made big pitches when she needed

them. Reed hitters were unable to lay off the pitches just off the

plate, and as a result, grounded out weakly several times.

“I have to throw out there,” Harper said. “If I throw the ball inside,

they are going to drive it.”

All five runs of Reed’s were unearned, and four came in the fourth when

the Raiders took a 4-3 lead.

Harper retired the first two batters of the inning, and then yielded a

single to Megan Ceccarelli and a walk to Cooper. Natalie Ceccarelli

followed by reaching on an error and Harper threw wildly to first, allowing

Megan Ceccarelli to score.

Paisly walked to load the bases, and Brooke Silva cleared the bases with a double to give Reed a 4-3 lead.