It was wild. It was back-and-forth. It played out in a developing rain storm. And it ended just like the previous seven league games for the Douglas baseball team this season: With a Tiger win.
Douglas improved to 12-1 overall and 8-0 in Northern Division I play to maintain its league lead Thursday afternoon, topping North Valleys 10-9 in eight innings.
Teddy Mason hit a one-out line drive into right center field to bring Kaleb Foster home for the game-ending run in a contest that was tied at five different points before Douglas ultimately prevailed.
“North Valleys is a just a tough club,” Douglas coach Bruce Jacobsen said. “They come to play and they pushed to every bit of what we could handle today.”
The Panthers built themselves a 4-1 through the first two and a half innings.
Dusty Fisher led the bottom of the third off with a double and Jimmy King followed suit, moving Fisher to third.
Fisher came in to score on passed ball to Nolan Weintz, and King ended up scoring later on a sacrifice fly from Dillon Lopez.
Weitnz, who reached on a single, ended up scoring on a double from Cale Kynett to tie the game at 4.
North Valleys picked up a two-run home run in the top of the fourth to go back up 6-4, but Fisher locked it up again in the bottom half with a towering two-run shot over the left field fence.
The Panthers executed a squeeze bunt with runners on second and third in the top of the fifth to go up 7-6.
Kyle Johnson led the bottom of the fifth off for Douglas with a double to center and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Chase White.
Johnson came in to score after North Valleys was called for a balk, tying the game up at 7.
Fisher later belted a home run to left, giving the Tigers an 8-7 lead.
The Panthers were able to manufacture the tying run in the top of the sixth with a double, sac fly and single, and ended up going up 9-8 on a two-out single in the top of the seventh.
White hit a one-out single to center in the bottom of the seventh and Cody Carter was hit by a pitch between his shoulder blades, bringing Fisher back up with two on.
Fisher blasted a shot to nearly the identical spot as his previous two home runs, but the ball came up short and was caught at the fence by the North Valleys left fielder.
“I think everyone in the park thought it was gone,” Jacobsen said. “But the kids still found a way to get the tying run across. It was like that all day. They just kept finding ways to get the job done.”
The runners didn’t advance on the play, but Andrew Bigam, running for White, later advanced to third on a passed ball with two outs.
On a 1-1 count to King, Bigam came home to score on yet another passed ball, tying things up at 9.
North Valleys was poised to go up again in the top of the eighth, parlaying a hit batsman around to third before Foster picked him off for what proved to be the third out of the inning.
Foster then led the eighth off with a double and Weintz was intentionally walked. Dillon Lopez was hit by a pitch and Mason later delivered the game-winner with one out.
“Teddy didn’t start the game, but there he is with the bases loaded and one out and he executes for us and wins the ballgame,” Jacobsen said. “Kaleb Foster, he was having a tough day at the plate, but there he was doing his job and getting in position to win us the game. It was guys stepping up like that all day.”
Weintz picked up the win on the mound in relief. “It gets tougher from here,” Jacobsen said. “We’ve got the thick part of the schedule coming up. The kids have been finding ways to win. We’ll have to keep doing that.”