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Tigers hope to get on a roll

by Chuck Smock

The Douglas softball team owns a 4-4 record one-third of the way through the Northern 4A Conference season. Three of those losses were decided by a total of five runs. And two of the losses were one-run games in extra innings.

The .500 record isn’t exactly pretty, but it’s not as bad as it looks on paper, according to DHS head coach Julie Baker.

“We’ve played a lot of close games,” Baker said. “Reed and Carson (both of whom defeated DHS in nine innings last week) are the top teams right now.

“When you’re losing by one and playing extra innings with the top teams, you’re OK.”

The Tigers, who were snowed out of the second day of the Reed Easter Tournament last weekend, will resume league play today with a home doubleheader against Lowry that is scheduled to start at noon.

Next week, they’ll play four games in three days -including a home game against Sparks on Thursday, a road game at Hug on Friday and a doubleheader against Reno at home on Saturday.

Douglas has lost three conference games in a row, but the Tigers have a realistic opportunity to win their next six. The key will be jumping on teams early to give starting pitcher Lori Shephard a chance to rest.

“Playing four games in three days is tough on your pitching,” Baker said. “That’s a lot of pitches in a lot of days. It’s also tough on the other girls, but it’s fun too because they like to play more than they like to practice.”

Lowry is near the bottom of the 4A pack, but the Buckaroos were in a similar position last year and earned a split with the Tigers.

“That was pretty embarrassing,” Baker said. “We’re not taking Lowry lightly.”

Douglas pounded Sparks, 23-1, in a tournament earlier this season. The Tigers blanked Hug, 4-0, in the second game of the season, as Shephard tossed a one-hitter and didn’t allow a runner past first base.

The Tigers will get their first look at Reno next Saturday.

“We’re not really sure about Reno,” Baker said. “They’ve only lost a couple games, but we don’t know who they’ve played. They’re a team you can’t take lightly.”

Baker added that Shephard will start the first game against Lowry today. Senior Cathy Mauzey is scheduled to pitch the second.