MINDEN - A young Douglas Tigers baseball club sustained some bruises during its first day at the USABA World Series on Wednesday. If all went well, however, the Tigers learned some lessons as well.
For starters, the Tigers got hit with a 12-run first inning and ended up on the short end of a 19-1 score against the Fairfield (Calif.) Yankees at Douglas High School. The Tigers bounced back in their second game to give a credible performance in a 7-2 loss to the Seattle Bombers during Mountain Division round-robin play.
From the Douglas point of view, manager Dennis Young described this is all a learning experience for the future.
"We hung in there the second game, after struggling in that first game," Young said. "I just feel the teams in this tournament are different quality teams. We have a lot of kids who are sophomores and juniors and that's hurting us now, but what we're trying to do is gear this program toward the high school and help them get ready for next year.
"The schedule we've played this summer has really been a quality schedule," Young added. "We've gone over the hill to played some good ball clubs, and now we're playing in this tournament, and hopefully the kids have learned something from this. I think it's going to help us in the long run, and I think it's helped us already."
The Tigers, 0-2 in the tournament and 16-20 overall for the season, play two more games today at Douglas High School. They face Triple Play from Washington at 11:30 a.m. and then at 2 p.m. against the Ridgecrest (Calif.) Desert Dawgs.
In Wednesday's second game, the Bombers scored twice behind doubles from Scott Johnson and Aaron Heuer to take a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
The Tigers cut the gap to 3-2 with two runs in the fourth. Marc Walling drew a leadoff walk, Cal Lewis singled and Matt Jacobsen doubled to drive both runners home. Jacobsen got as far as third, but Seattle pitcher Jesse LaCasse retired three straight batters to escape from the jam.
Seattle scored twice in the fifth and added two more runs in the seventh to gain some breathing room. LaCasse pitched five innings of two-hit ball to earn the win and Tyler Boyer threw the final two innings to close out the game.
Heuer hit 2-for-4 with two doubles and Johnson went 2-for-4 to lead the Bombers offensively.
FAIRFIELD 19, DOUGLAS 1
A 12-run first inning propelled the Yankees to an easy victory in the tournament opener for both teams.
Fairfield sent 16 batters to the plate during its big first inning, led by Brian Engell with two RBI singles and Billy Gustiun with a double and three-run homer. Gustiun's home run blast over the center field fence gave Fairfield a 12-0 lead. The Yankees were further aided in the inning by four Douglas errors, two passed balls and one wild pitch.
Justin Lang pitched three innings of one-hit ball for Fairfield to pick up the win in a game called in the fifth inning.
The Tigers scored their run in the fifth inning, thanks to successive singles by Matt Saylo, Adam Johnson and Chad Cooper. Saylo hit 2-for-2 in the game.
Engell hit 3-for-3 with three RBIs and Richard Moore went 2-for-2 with two RBIs for the Yankees, who had 14 different players contribute to the team's 19-hit attack.