Tigers lose in nine innings
Courtney Huff singled home the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and then turned an unassisted double play in the bottom half of the inning Thursday as the Spanish Springs Cougars held on for a 10-9 Northern 4A softball win at Douglas.
Douglas (4-8 league, 6-18 overall) rallied back from a 6-0 deficit — thanks to home runs from Kettja Bennett, Bailey Walters and Alyssa Smokey — to take the defending state champion Cougars down to the wire.
The Tigers have lost six games this season by two runs or less. Four of those have been decided by one run.
Bennett hit a grand-slam in the fifth inning and Walters added a two-run shot in the sixth that tied the score 7-all.
After Spanish Springs scored three runs in the top of the ninth, Smokey hit a two-run homer to make it 10-9. Douglas had the potential tying and winning runs on first and second with only one out, however, Huff caught a line drive at shortstop and stepped on second base for the game-ending double play.
Two singles started the Cougars’ ninth inning rally. Huff lined a two-run single to right field and Aubrey Parks followed with another RBI single to put the Cougars on top, 10-7. Huff hit 4-for-5 with five RBI, including a solo home run in the sixth inning and two-run double in the second.
Freshman Deztiny Vaughan pitched a nine-inning complete game for Douglas, allowed five earned runs on 14 hits to go with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Spanish Springs freshman Kaylah House pitched the final four innings and allowed two runs on six hits to earn credit for the win.
Douglas had an opportunity to win in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bennett hit a one-out single, Smokey reached on an error and Jasmine McNinch lined a single to left field to load the bases with one out. House retired the side, however, on back-to-back ground balls that resulted in force outs at the plate.
McNinch hit 3-for-5 with a double, while Casey Peck, Kayla Olson and Bennett all went 2-for-5 to lead Douglas offensively. Vaughan also went 1-for-3 with a single that drove in the Tigers’ first run in the fifth inning.
Both teams finished the game with 14 hits. Spanish Springs left 15 runners on base and Douglas stranded nine. The Tigers left the bases loaded without scoring a run in the first inning against Spanish Springs starter Tyra Clary.