Girls drop a pair to a tough North Douglas team

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley softball team, hoping to build off last year’s play-off run, opened their season with a thud, losing to North Douglas last Friday in Drain. The Lady Cougars dropped a 5 inning, 10-0 decision to the Warriors.
“I really didn’t want them (North Douglas) scheduled for our first game,” said I.V. coach Justine Johnson. “But we play the games that are on the schedule. It would have been nice if it would have been in two weeks. I really think the outcome would have been completely different.”
North Douglas, currently ranked No. 2 in softball by the OSAA 2A/1A coaches’ poll, took advantage of a couple of Illinois Valley errors to score three runs in the first inning. The Warriors struck for three more in the third when the heart of their order came up for the second time. A single run in the fourth preceded another three run outburst in the fifth that ended the game when the 10-run rule was invoked.
Although the loss was disappointing, the game was not without some highlights for the Lady Cougars. Pitcher Kiara Walker struck out nine Warriors in less than five innings despite taking the loss.
I.V.’s only hit of the day was a fifth inning lead-off double by center fielder Isabelle Guzman. The Cougars loaded the bases in the fifth, as both Emily Jones and Morgan Melton walked after Guzman’s double. However, both walks came with two outs and a grounder to second ended the rally.
Illinois Valley had two other chances to score, advancing runners to third in both the third and fourth innings as well. Breanna Reed walked in the third and promptly stole both second and third base. She was stranded when the inning ended on a strikeout. Kaylynn Thompson also walked and stole both second and third in the fourth. She was also left on base when the final out struck-out.
The Cougars will be very busy in this last week before Spring Break. I.V. hosts the Chiloquin Panthers for a league game Tuesday. A non-league home contest with Oakland is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Finally, Friday the Lady Cougars complete their league series with Chiloquin when they travel to Chiloquin to face the Panthers in a doubleheader.