WINSTON — Three-peat?
That’s the plan for the Douglas High softball team, which is seeking its third straight Far West League championship this spring.
The Trojans opened their league schedule with a convincing victory on a sunny Tuesday, whipping North Bend 14-4 in five innings at their new field. Douglas, 6-2 overall, has outscored is opponents 73-27.
“We’re really hoping to get it (title) again this year,” said pitcher/first baseman Ana Dupper, a second-team all-league selection in 2012. “Our biggest goal is to make into the (Class 4A state) playoffs and get as far as we can. If we all work together, I’m positive we can make it there.”
Even with back-to-back league crowns, the last two seasons ended on disappointing notes for the Trojans with losses in the play-in round. Jake Leair, the third Douglas head coach in as many years, likes the makeup of the 2013 squad.
“If we don’t win league, it definitely will be a disappointment,” he said. “If the girls keep their energy up, I don’t see anybody taking them off the pedestal. We have a balance of speed, small ball and the ability to hit the long ball.”
Senior shortstop Sadie Birch packs some pretty good punch with the bat. The first-team all-Far West infielder — who signed with Oregon Tech of Klamath Falls — hit her third home run of the season against North Bend, ripping a three-run shot to left field in the bottom of the third inning. She finished 2-for-3 in the contest and played an outstanding defensive game.
“It felt really good,” Birch said of the win. “We came out pumped up and I knew from the beginning we’d go out hard. That’s a great thing for the rest of the season.”
The Trojans finished with 14 hits. Dupper went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, Shailee Holcomb 2-for-2 with two walks and Ally Schofield 2-for-3. Speedy leadoff hitter Justine Bringhurst, a Camas Valley student, reached base three times and is a base-stealing threat.
Another top returnee is Geniva Johnson, a first-team all-league outfielder. She filled in for Mikala Dupper at catcher Tuesday.
Douglas sent 11 batters to the plate in the first, taking a 6-0 lead. Schofield and Bringhurst had run-scoring hits in the inning.
Dupper pitched three innings before being relieved by Holcomb with no out in the top of the fourth. Brittany Deaver gives the Trojans another capable pitcher, if needed.
“We have a big target on our backs, so we’re working hard every day in practice to make sure we keep it,” Birch said. “Sometimes we get in a slump of just not talking to each other. We all get down. If we can get past that, we’ll do fine.”
Jasmine Roe went 2-for-3 and Madison Spence contributed a two-run single for the Bulldogs (5-5 overall).
The Trojans travel to Brookings Friday for a league game, weather permitting.
North Bend 030 10 — 4 6 3
Douglas 605 21 — 14 11 0
P. Cook and Merritt; A. Dupper, Holcomb (4) and Johnson. WP — A. Dupper. LP — P. Cook. HR — Birch (D). 2B — Ayala (NB), Deaver (D), Dupper (D).
FLORENCE — Kylie Atterbury had the unusual distinction of not only batting twice in the same inning, but delivering both times to help the Bulldogs cruise to a win in their Far West League opener.
The Bulldogs scored eight runs in the sixth inning and Atterbury, a senior, knocked in four of them — two on a double and another on a single. Kelsea Knee spread out her four RBIs on three singles.
Paris Smith and Sydney Tostenson also had run-scoring hits in the big frame. The offensive outbreak backed up pitcher Cheylin Malinoff, who struck out nine in a three-hit complete game for Sutherlin (4-7 overall).
The Vikings (3-8) were less than sharp with eight errors, including three on one play that allowed Knee to turn a single into quick trip around the bases.
Sutherlin 100 208 1 — 12 13 1
Siuslaw 000 000 0 — 0 3 8
Malinoff and Kress; Opitz and Cole. WP — Malinoff. LP — Opitz. 2B — Atterbury (S).
South Umpqua 5
TRI CITY — The Bruins (5-4) won their third straight and dealt the Lancers (1-8) their eighth consecutive loss in the Far West League contest. Statistics were not provided to The News-Review.
South Umpqua 3
BROOKINGS — Junior pitcher Kyle Westbrooks threw the first shutout of his career, a two-hitter to give the Lancers (5-3 overall) a win to start the Far West League season.
Westbrooks struck out 12 and walked two. He got a lead in the second inning when Garrett Rudy doubled and then scored on Akota Sellers’ bases-loaded walk.
Rudy, who went 3-for-4, added an RBI double in the fifth inning. Sellers tacked on the final run in the sixth with a single to score Matt Kennedy.
Brevin Ball had two of the Lancers’ six hits.
Brookings dropped to 3-6.
South Umpqua 010 011 0 — 3 6 0
Brookings 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Westbrooks and Rudy; Holteen, Hooper (6) and Esthers. WP — Westbrooks. LP — Holteen. 2B — Rudy 2 (SU).
SUTHERLIN — Freshman catcher Kenny Thrall hit a two-run homer in the second inning, and Josh Iabachello delivered the decisive blow with an RBI double in the sixth as the Vikings took the Far West League opener for both teams.
Jake Thompson tossed a complete game for the Vikings (6-3 overall). He struck out four, walked four and allowed three hits.
Taler Jensen went the distance for Sutherlin (2-9) with five strikeouts, eight hits and two walks. The Bulldogs tied the game with two runs in the fourth inning as Jace Martineau singled, Beau Grauf reached on an error, Colton Leatherwood hit an RBI fielder’s choice and Grauf scored on a passed ball.
Sutherlin put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on in the seventh inning, but Thompson ended the rally with a strikeout.
Siuslaw 020 001 0 — 3 8 1
Sutherlin 000 200 0 — 2 3 0
Thompson and Thrall; Jensen and Wy. McKnight. WP — Thompson. LP — Jensen. HR — Thrall (S). 2B — Iabachello (S).
North Bend 13
NORTH BEND — Hayden Davisson knocked in three runs and scored two, Michael Hampton added a pair of runs and the Bulldogs triggered the mercy rule with a six-run fifth inning in the Far West League win.
Chris Gruchacz tossed a three-hitter for North Bend (5-5 overall, 1-0 FWL) and avoided big trouble in the first by inducing a double play with the bases loaded and no outs. Brandon Box hit an RBI single for the Trojans (2-6, 0-1) while Riley Lavin and Triston Garnett had their other hits.
Douglas 100 02 — 3 3 5
North Bend 130 36 — 13 10 1
Koone, Claughton (5) and Thompson; Gruchacz and Duryee. WP — Gruchacz. LP — Koone. 2B — Hampton (NB), Davisson (NB).