Clutch plays at the plate and in the field Tuesday helped boost the Douglas High baseball team to a 5-3 Northern Division I victory against North Valleys.
Douglas (12-4, 6-1) converted a single and two errors into two runs in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie in a closely contested affair at Tiger Field. Meanwhile, Dalton Grisell and Kyle Johnson pitched their way out of trouble in the third and sixth innings to help preserve the win.
Even though the Tigers had won two previous tournament games against the Panthers, 15-7 and 11-4, coach Bruce Jacobsen expected the league game would be a different story.
“We’ll take it — home or away — league wins are tough to come by,” Jacobsen said. “North Valleys is a tough squad. They’re going to come at us day-in and day-out.”
Douglas held leads of 2-0 and 3-2, only to see North Valleys (3-10, 2-6) come back to tie the score each time. The Tigers turned back a rally in the top of the sixth and then took the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning.
Sophomore Logan Fencl singled to lead off the rally and scored after Cole Peck reached base on an error, Zach Davies moved the runners to second and third with his sacrifice bunt, and both scored when Cale Kynett reached on another error.
Johnson earned credit for the win after coming on to pitch in relief with two runners left on base and two outs in the sixth. He handled a ground ball bunt to retire the side.
Grisell started on the mound and allowed three runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings. Panthers scored two of those runs in the third inning to tie the score at 2-all. The senior left-hander avoided further damage, however, when he retired the side on a strikeout with the bases loaded.
“Dalton competed well today,” Jacobsen said. “He didn’t have his best stuff today, but he pitched well enough to keep us in the game.”
Douglas regained the lead in the bottom half of the third after Kaleb Foster reached base on an error and scored when Matt Santos hit a double down the left field.
“That was huge,” Jacobsen said. “Anytime anybody scores on us, we want to answer back, and Matt came up with that big double.”
Douglas jumped on top in the first inning when Kynett hit a leadoff double, stole third and scored on Foster’s two-out single. The Tigers pushed their lead to 2-0 in the second inning when Peck and Haden Keller singled and Dalton Grisell doubled to left. The damage would have been more extensive except the Panthers cut down a run on shortstop Kody Duke’s relay to the plate for the inning-ending out.
The Tigers return to action Saturday with an 11 a.m. league game at Damonte Ranch.