Defense was the difference on a cold, blustery afternoon Monday when the Douglas High baseball team rallied for a 9-2 win at home against rival Carson.
Douglas (10-2 overall, 5-1 league) supported Dalton Grisell’s complete game pitching performance with errorless defense — including an infield that handled 11 ground ball putouts — to win a game played as part of the Spanish Springs tournament.
“They got up on us in the first inning, but the kids persevered and fought back,” Douglas coach Bruce Jacobsen said. “This was a game that could have gone either way with the wind and everything. Carson’s a good team with a lot of talent and coach (Bryan) Manoukian does a good job with them. And, of course, it’s always good to beat your rival, so we’ll take it.”
Douglas scored four runs in the fourth inning to erase a 2-0 deficit, then added five more runs in the sixth to put the game away. Carson (7-4 overall) committed four of its six errors in those two innings.
The errorless defense was certainly a highlight, according to senior shortstop Dillon Lopez, who handled six of those ground ball outs, including double plays to end the second and fifth innings. Given the cold weather conditions, however, the ground balls came as a welcome sight.
“That’s always nice, and we work so hard at it,” Lopez said of the team’s defensive effort. “Dalton did a good job of putting the ball on the ground. It’s harder to catch a fly ball in the wind. I’d prefer a ground ball under these conditions any day.”
The fifth inning double play was a picture-perfect 6-4-3 in which Lopez went to one knee for a clean pickup, flicked the ball to Dusten Plante at second base, who relayed a strike to Matt Santos at first base to complete the play.
Grisell pitched an eight-hitter, with four of those hits and both runs coming in the first inning when Carson took a 2-0 lead. The senior left-hander only allowed one runner to reach second base the rest of the way.
“Tough conditions and the field played short, but it was the same for both teams,” Manoukian said. “They made adjustments and we made more errors as the game went on. Six errors … you can’t do that and expect to win ball games.”
The Tigers only managed two hits through three innings against Carson sophomore John Holton. The momentum turned in the fourth, however, when Santos lined a one-out single to center, Kaleb Foster bounced a single through the right side of the infield and Kyle Johnson walked to load the bases. Cole Peck hit a sharp grounder to the hole at shortstop for an RBI single, and two more runs scored on an errant throw. Haden Keller’s fly ball to center field was dropped, allowing Peck to score from second base as the Tigers went up 4-2.
Douglas added five unearned runs against three pitchers in the sixth. Fencl reached base when his hot liner was mishandled in the infield for an error and Peck followed with a soft liner that dropped into right field for a single. Pinch hitter Michael Mejia greeted reliever Danny Guthrie with a walk to load the bases. Grisell helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to center, then Peck scored on a throw to third base that rolled into the dugout. Lopez followed with an RBI double down the left field line and Foster bounced a single up the middle to drive two more runs home and make it 9-2.
Douglas 2, Wooster 0
Peck pitched two-hit ball over six innings Saturday to help the Tigers to a 2-0 Northern Division I victory against Wooster at Tiger Field.
Santos delivered a two-run hit that provided the difference in a critical win for the Tigers, who were coming off a 6-0 loss two days before at Wooster.
And for the second time this season, Peck came through with a stellar performance on the mound after a loss. Johnson came on to pitch a scoreless seventh and close out the Tigers’ fourth shutout of the season. Peck also beat Reed 4-2 earlier this season.
Peck finished with nine strikeouts and three walks. Johnson allowed one hit in the seventh, but struck out the side to earn his first save of the season.
“That was a huge win for us,” Jacobsen said. “After losing up at Wooster, Cole came through and held them to zero. He just did a great job of throwing strikes and getting ahead on the count.”