No. 2 Galena dashes Douglas playoff hopes
For the second time in the tournament, it all came down to one disastrous inning for the Douglas baseball team.
Douglas managed to hang with the No. 2 ranked Galena Grizzlies, trailing just 5-3 through five innings. But the Grizzlies broke things open with an eight-run sixth to push ahead for a 14-4 win, ending the Tigers’ season Friday afternoon at Reno High School just one game short of the state tournament.
“We had the one bad inning but I’m really proud of the kids,” Douglas coach John Glover said. “They got a lot further than anybody expected, probably than I expected them to. That’s saying something, to have the kids playing their best baseball of the year at the end.”
The loss brought to a close a wild week in the Northern 4A Regionals for the Tigers. Douglas led Galena for the majority of the opening game of the tournament before getting caught with a similar big inning near the end and came back to beat Reed the next day to stay alive.
Things got interesting Thursday as the Tigers pulled off major upsets of Reno and Galena to force Friday’s game.
A win Friday would have clinched Douglas’ first trip to the state tournament since 1989. As it was, the Tigers still got the closest to a regional title game they’ve been since 1998.
“I’m proud of the seniors,” Glover said. “They hung in there and they battled for us. It’s bittersweet. We’d like to go on and keep playing, but it just didn’t work out that way.”
Senior D.J. Brady took the ball to start Friday’s game and gave Douglas five solid innings before he maxed out at 11 for the week.
“We were in that game,” Glover said. “D.J. just ran out of innings. That’s what it comes down to. He kept us in the game but he was done for the week. He threw 11 tough innings for us. Not many guys can do that.”
The Tigers fell back 1-0 in the first but came immediately back with a series of misplays by the Grizzlies.
Brady led the first inning off reaching on an error at second and Jordan Hadlock singled on a misplayed bunt, moving Brady to second. Ryan Laing then singled to score Brady and Roman Davis added a run-scoring single to plate Hadlock.
Galena tied the game back up in the second and pulled back out with two runs in the top of the third.
Things remained relatively quiet through the top of the fifth before Galena’s Tony Thompson extended the lead with a solo home run to left.
Laing answered in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot to left of his own.
Galena put together six hits and eight runs in the top of the sixth, cycling through three Tiger relievers along the way.
“Galena is just a great hitting team,” Glover said. “You just have to tip your cap to them. I wish we could have not had that inning, but that is baseball.”
The blowout inning put the game in danger of ending early by the 10-run mercy rule, but Roman Davis scored in the bottom of the frame when Niko Saladis reached on an error to keep the Tigers alive.
“You hope someday you might win one of these things,” Glover said. “It takes a couple bounces your way and it takes a lot of hard work.”
Laing finished the game with two RBIs and Davis had one.
Douglas wrapped up its season with a 21-17 record overall.
The Tigers played their way into Friday with two improbable upset victories on Thursday.
The Tigers pulled off a significant upset of the No. 3-ranked Reno Huskies at Reno High School and then turned around to beat No. 2 Galena in the nightcap.
“It was nuts, just an unbelievable day,” Glover said. “Basically heading into the day I told them we had nothing to lose and that the pressure was on Reno. Most people thought we weren’t supposed to beat them, but we knew if we hung in there and played loose we’d have a shot.”
Freshman Tyler May pitched five innings of solid ball to keep Douglas in the game. Senior Chris Kinsley then came on to close out the game, earning the win.
“It was just one of those things,” Glover said. “We got off to a pretty good start, got some timely hitting and some good pitching and we hung on from there.
“Tyler did a great job and Chris closed it out for us.”
In the second game, Kinsley remained on the mound and threw five innings while picking up the 8-7 victory over Galena.
The Grizzlies beat Douglas Tuesday in the opening round of the playoffs, despite a strong start from the Tigers.
Douglas got off to a strong start again Thursday, building a 6-2 lead through four innings, but wouldn’t let go of it this time around.
“It was really the same type of deal,” Glover said. “We hit it better today than we have been, and that helped a lot, getting that consistency at the plate.
“It was kind of a momentum thing I think. Once they got going, things just kept snowballing.”
Glover noted Brady, Hadlock, Phil Mannelly and Davis for their performances Thursday, but said the entire team contributed.
Brady homered against Reno and Davis and Mannelly each had two RBIs. Nate Whalin and Cory Eilers each drove in a run as well.
Against Galena, May homered, Brady drove in two runs and Laing, Davis, Mannelly, Saladis and Ryan Pruitt each drove in one run.
— Joey Crandall can be reached at email@example.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.