Tigers, Wolves to meet in state softball
Two high school softball teams that have waited a long time to play on Nevada’s biggest stage — the Douglas Tigers and Basic Wolves — will be looking to make up for lost time on Thursday when they square off in the first round of the NIAA 4A State Tournament in Reno.
Douglas (24-11-1 overall record) and Basic (26-11) are scheduled for a 2 p.m. start at Bishop Manogue Catholic High School. Northern 4A Region champion Spanish Springs (30-3) is set to play Sunset Region champion Shadow Ridge (27-10) in the other first round game at 4:30 p.m.
Douglas, the Northern 4A runner-up, is returning to state for the first time since 2004 and looking to win it for the first time since taking back-to-back titles in 1991-92.
And Basic captured its first-ever Sunrise Region Tournament championship after coming out of the losers bracket to sweep two games from defending champion Coronado in the finals on Saturday, 9-1 and 15-12.
John Glover coached the Tigers to a region baseball title in 2009 and is now headed to state in his first season at the helm of the school’s softball program.
“We are excited for the opportunity to play Basic,” Glover said. “The girls are ready.”
Douglas will be up against a Basic squad that has gradually improved in each of Lauren Taylor’s four seasons as head coach at the Henderson school — 6-22 in 2015, 15-19 in 2016, 19-17 in 2017 and 26 wins so far this spring. The Wolves have five seniors who are in their fourth varsity season.
The Tigers are coming off an exciting region tournament run in which they went 3-2. Along the way, they dropped a 4-3 decision to Spanish Springs on Friday in a game that ended with the potential tying run on third base. Then, on Saturday, the Tigers clinched their state berth with a 6-5 win against tournament-host Manogue when center fielder Mackenzie Brixey threw out the potential tying run at home plate to end the game.
Douglas fell short in its bid to capture the region title on Monday with a 9-3 loss in the final round to Spanish Springs. Douglas was out front 3-0 in the fourth inning on Saturday when play was called due to rain, however, the Cougars came back on Monday to win on an eight-run rally in the fifth.
How much impact did the rain delay have? Remember, the Tigers had just defeated Manogue and faced the possibility they would have to win three games on the same day to return home with the championship.
Glover dismissed the idea that weather was a factor in the final outcome.
“I don’t think the rain made a difference on Saturday,” Glover said. “The game doesn’t change because of a delay or whether you play on Saturday or Monday. I think you have to give credit to Spanish Springs. They are a great team and were better than we were on Monday.”
Against Manogue on Saturday, Haley Doughty and Chloie Pratt hit back-to-back homers to break a 3-all tie leading off the fifth inning and Amanda Hoffman worked out of bases loaded jams in the sixth and seventh innings on her way to the complete game victory. Hoffman also pitched a three-hitter to beat No. 2 seeded Manogue on Friday.
There was no doubt in Glover’s mind who he wanted in the pitcher’s circle with the game on the line.
“Amanda had a great tournament and we are really proud of her,” Glover said of the four-year varsity veteran. “She is a senior and we felt she should be on the mound until the end against Manogue.”
Note: Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association spokesman Donnie Nelson said that the tournament schedule can “adjust on the fly” to accommodate weather conditions that could include rain or lightning disturbances. … Play on Friday is scheduled to start at noon and the championship round at 10 a.m. Saturday. … Spanish Springs is bidding for its fifth state championship since 2007. … Shadow Ridge came out of the losers bracket to win twice against Palo Verde in the Sunset finals on Saturday, 3-2 and 10-8.