The Douglas baseball team sealed a key Northern Division I league sweep Thursday afternoon, defeating McQueen 9-4 in Minden.
Coupled with a 19-10 win at McQueen on Tuesday, Douglas clinched a season-sweep against the defending league champions.
“These games are so important when it comes to the end of the year,” Douglas coach Bruce Jacobsen said. “There is so much balance in the league, every win is at a premium, especially against a good team like McQueen.”
Douglas rode its resurgent offense, which pounded out 14 hits and extended its season run total to 69 in seven games, and junior pitcher Kyle Johnson’s arm to the win.
Johnson struck out seven and walked one in improving to 2-0 on the young season.
“He’s been doing exactly what we need him to do early on here,” Jacobsen said. “He’s locating the ball, he’s chewing up innings and he’s really settled into his role as the anchor of the pitching staff. He just did a great job today.”
Johnson also got some help from the Tiger defense, highlighted by a pair of diving catches in left field from senior Nolan Weintz in the late innings.
“Those were huge outs, because he literally stole away hits in key situations from a great hitting team,” Jacobsen said. “The defense was strong and anyone will tell you that when you play well defensively, you will have success.”
Kaleb Foster and Chase White led the Tigers offensively, each driving in three runs on two hits. Foster tripled, Dusty Fisher doubled and drove in a run, Jimmy King drove in a run and Weintz hit his fourth home run in seven games.
Second baseman Cody Carter went 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored, Dillon Lopez went 2-for-3, Cale Kynett went 2-for-3 with a double and Joe Almeida added a hit.
McQueen’s Nick Agliolo led the game off with a home run and Douglas was unable to answer in the bottom half.
In the bottom of the second, White was hit by a pitch with one out and he moved to third on a single from Carter.
Fisher singled White home and Carter scored on King’s single.
Foster then hit a base-clearing triple to give Douglas the 4-1 lead.
McQueen strung together three runs in the top of the third and the score stayed locked at 4 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Carter led that frame off reaching on an error and later stole second.
He moved to third when King grounded out to second and scored the go-ahead on a single from Foster.
The Tigers plated another pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth as White hit a one-out dribbling single to shallow right that brought Lopez and Kynett home.
Weintz’s home run and another White single that brought Andrew Bigham home in the bottom of the sixth finished the scoring for the day.
“Those late runs were so important,” Jacobsen said. “We talk a lot about continuing to push and today was a great example. You take away that sixth inning and then look at how the top of the seventh went. They get a guy on with one out and all of the sudden, you’re looking at facing the heart of their order with a two-run lead. If it played out the same way, it would’ve been Kody Reynolds, who is one of the best hitters in the league, coming to the plate there with a chance to tie it at the end.
“But because the kids kept at it, we weren’t in that situation.”
Douglas improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in Northern Division I action with the win.
Douglas travels to Hug Saturday and host Hug Tuesday.