With first place in the Sierra League on the line, the Douglas baseball team came together just in time to salvage a doubleheader split with Damonte Ranch and maintain control in the race for the league crown.
After giving up 11 runs in the final four innings of a 13-9 loss to the Mustangs earlier in the day, Douglas came back to pound out 12 hits in a big 12-2 win to maintain a one-game lead in the league with three game remaining for each team.
"It was one of those deals where Damonte Ranch is a good team and I really felt we were in a little lull going all the way back to the Reed game (Tuesday) and continuing on through the first two games of this series," Douglas coach John Glover said. "It was really uncharacteristic for us. We hadn't really gone through something like this yet this season.
"We talked about working our way through it and things turned out OK."
Douglas got on the board with a run-scoring single from Nate Whalin in the first inning and exploded with seven runs in the second inning highlighted by a three-run homer to deep right-center field from Whalin.
The Tigers brought four more runs across in the third highlighted by Cory Eilers' three-run double to deep left with one out.
Whalin had a strong outing on the mound, striking out two and allowing just four hits and two runs over five innings of work. At the plate, he drove in four runs. Eilers also had four RBIs, while Jordan Hadlock and Niko Saladis each drove in one.
Hadlock stole three bases in the game and Saladis and Whalin each collected three hits. Eilers, Hadlock and Tyler May each had two hits.
In the first game, Douglas built an early 7-2 lead as Willie Morgan hit a two-run double, Hadlock drove Morgan home with a single and Phil Mannelly hit a grand slam to right field.
The Tigers extended the lead to 8-2 in the bottom of the third when Brandon Bernard hit a sacrifice fly to score Ryan Pruitt, but Damonte came back with three runs in the top of the fourth.
Damonte Ranch's Brian Valardes homered off the roof of one of the portable classrooms behind left field with two on to account for all three runs.
He hit a two-run shot in the top of the fourth to highlight a five-run inning for the Mustangs that put Damonte up by one.
The Mustangs brought three more runs across in the top of the sixth to push the final score.
Mannelly had five RBIs for the Tigers in the game, Morgan had two and Hadlock and Bernard each had one.
Whalin and Morgan each doubled and Hadlock had three hits.
Douglas heads into the final weekend of the regular season with a 14-4 record in league while Damonte sits in second at 13-5. The Tigers will take on North Valleys in a three-game series, but there may still be a chance that Damonte and Douglas will meet again before the end of the year.
Glover protested Thursday's 9-6 loss in the fourth inning after Damonte subbed in a player that hadn't been listed on their lineup card. The league will make a decision on that this week. If the protest is upheld, the game will be replayed at Damonte Ranch starting in the top of the fourth with the Mustangs leading 6-1.
No. 5 DAMONTE RANCH 13, No. 2 DOUGLAS 9 at Douglas
Damonte 110 353 0 - 13 15 3
Douglas 071 100 0 - 9 8 0
May, Hoelzen (5), Hadlock (6) and Hadlock, Davis (6). Daniels, Johnson (3) and Bates, Sexton (4). WP: Johnson. LP: Hoelzen. SO: May 4, Hadlock 2, Daniels 2, Johnson 3. BB: May 2, Hoelzen 1, Hadlock 1, Daniels 1.
Douglas hitting: Hadlock 3-4, Saladis 1-3, Mannelly 1-3, Eilers 1-3, Whalin 1-3, Morgan 1-1. 2B: Whalin 1, Morgan 1. HR: Mannelly 1. RBI: Mannelly 5, Hadlock 1, Morgan 2, Bernard 1.
No. 2 DOUGLAS 12, No. 5 DAMONTE RANCH 2 at Douglas
Damonte 001 01 - 2 4 1
Douglas 174 0x - 12 12 0
Whalin and Hadlock. WP: Whalin. SO: Whalin 2. BB: Whalin 3.
Douglas hitting: Hadlock 2-2, May 2-3, Eilers 2-3, Whalin 3-3, Saladis 3-3. 2B: Eilers 1, Whalin 1. HR: Whalin 1. RBI: Eilers 4, Whalin 4, Hadlock 1, Saladis 1.