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Tigers hammer Lancers

by Chuck Smock

The young Douglas Tigers didn’t need much time to get a feel for the Northern 4A varsity softball season.

The Tigers pounded out 13 hits and benefited from a solid pitching performance by freshman Tarrah Kizer in a 10-4 season-opening win over McQueen on Thursday at DHS.

Kizer struck out eight batters and also crushed a two-run home run, but she wasn’t the only newcomer to make a dazzling varsity debut.

Freshman centerfielder Cheryl Nicoll was 3-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Sophomore Allie Walling was 2-for-4 with three RBI and made three outstanding defensive plays at second base.

Sophomore Ashley Coleman knocked in two runs with a double and did a good job behind the plate at catcher.

And sophomore Bo Ceballos doubled and scored a run.

The returners weren’t bad either.

Sophomore shortstop Lindsey Rollins had three hits in four at-bats, including a leadoff triple to the center field fence, and scored two runs.

Junior first baseman Hillary Moreira had a double and scored two runs.

And senior Michelle Roza singled and scored a run.

Douglas head coach Ken Carr has only one senior on the roster, but he admitted he may have been the most nervous person on the Tigers bench prior to the first pitch.

“I probably had a heart rate of 250 before the game started,” said Carr. “The old veteran Michelle (Roza) just kept saying ‘Take a deep breath, coach. Take a deep breath.'”

The coach’s nerves were tested in the first inning, when McQueen managed to put three runners on base. The Lancers weren’t able to score any runs, however.

The Tigers gave their coach a chance to breathe a little easier when they scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning. They added three more in the third before Kizer had allowed a hit.

“I’m just real proud of every one of them,” Carr said. “I was real pleased with the hitting. They came out and they were tagging that ball – just hitting it real hard. All the kids. They played hard. They stayed focused.

“I’m just exceptionally proud.”

Kizer changed speeds effectively and did a good job moving the ball around in the strike zone. She said she wasn’t intimidated in her first varsity start.

“I just went with the flow,” Kizer said. “My changeup worked this game. I just have to keep trying and get ready for the next game.”

Kizer’s two-run homer in the third gave the Tigers a 6-0 lead.

“I struck out the first time on the same pitch I hit over the fence,” Kizer said. “I was expecting it again, so I just got mad and hit it with all my anger.”

Walling said her team’s 10-0 loss to Carson in a scrimmage on Monday at DHS may have given the Tigers cause for concern heading into the first game of the season. It was apparent from the start, through, that the Tigers were a different team against McQueen.

“We didn’t play too well in our practice game against Carson, but we came back and did really good today,” Walling said. “This was a really good win. It gives us confidence for the season.”

Nicoll, the younger sister of former Tiger football and baseball star Kenny Nicoll, said the Douglas softball squad has already developed team chemistry, despite the fact that players from all four classes make up the starting lineup. She added that anyone on the roster can be expected to make a game-winning play on any given day.

“We all get along very well,” Nicoll said. “It’s not like it’s going to be one or two people carrying the team. I think if we stay together and we keep it together, we’ll all carry each other.”