Tigers make plays, sweep Raiders
Making routine plays helped put the Douglas High softball team in position to win on Saturday. Make no mistake about it, though, nothing was routine about its Northern 4A conference double header sweep at home against Reed.
Deztiny Vaughan pitched a one-hitter to win the opener then worked three innings to close out game two and the Tigers played errorless defense on the day on a cool and overcast day.
Coach John Glover pointed out that the Tigers simply took care of business in the field and at the plate
“We always talk about making routine plays,” he said. “We did that today, and then some.”
Even more important, Douglas (5-0 league, 8-1 overall) retained its position atop the conference standings coming into a showdown today at 3:45 p.m. against Spanish Springs (3-0, 7-0).
“This is a tough stretch for us,” Glover said. “We just want to keep playing hard and take it one game at a time.”
Saturday was a step in the right direction even though Reed (1-2, 2-4-1) is young with only three seniors on the roster after a 2017 season when the Raiders won 35 games and finished as the state tournament runner-up.
“I’m proud of the way the girls played,” Glover said. “To take two wins from a quality program like that … the girls played hard all day.”
Vaughan was dominant with her game one performance. The sophomore right-hander effectively used a variety of pitches to retire the first 16 batters she faced and 21 of 22 overall.
“She located her pitches well, hit her spots and kept their hitters off balance,” Glover said.
Reed’s only hit came with one out in the fifth inning when Maddie Zucco lined a single into left-center field. Zucco stole second base, however, Vaughan retired the side on an infield pop fly and called strikeout to leave the runner stranded.
Glover spoke of making routine plays “and then some?” That was evident in the seventh inning when right fielder Jasmine McNinch ran down a pop fly down the right field line for the first out. Moments later, center fielder Mackenzie Brixie made a snow-cone catch with a diving effort in the gap for the second out.
“Those were great plays,” Glover said.
Douglas broke up a scoreless duel between Vaughan and Reed’s Aliya Lange with one run in the fourth inning. Amanda Hoffman reached on an infield hit with one out and came around to score on Casey Peck’s double to left field. Bailey Walter followed with an RBI single to drive Peck home.
The Tigers extended their lead to 3-0 in the fifth when Kettja Bennett singled, advanced on Brixie’s sacrifice bunt, and scored when McNinch singled to right field. Douglas put the game away with four more runs in the sixth, sparked by Peck’s double and an RBI single by McNinch.
Game two followed a similar pattern, except this time, Reed took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning against Amanda Hoffman when Reed pitcher Ally Boyd doubled to right field and scored when sophomore Cailyn Leone slapped a 2-2 pitch up the middle for a single.
Douglas answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning when Hoffman and Peck singled then scored when a two-out pop fly was dropped on the infield.
Vaughan came on to pitch in relief in the fifth, but saw her string of scoreless innings end as freshman cleanup hitter Alycia Coats lined a home run over the left field fence to tie the score at 2-all.
The Tigers took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth. McNinch reached base when her pop fly fell into short field for a single, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and scored on Alyssa Smokey’s two-out double to center field. Douglas broke the game open with six runs in the sixth, highlighted by Haley Doughty’s bases-clearing double down the left field line.
Eight players contributed to the Tigers’ 13-hit attack in game two, led by Chloie Pratt, Brixey, McNinch, Hoffman and Peck with two each. Reed collected 10 hits, four off Vaughan over the final three innings.
The Tigers also ended the game with a double play that culminated with Bennett cutting down a run at the plate with a throw to Pratt.