Baseball: Douglas drops two to North Valleys
By Joey Crandall
The Douglas baseball team entered Thursday afternoon fully in control of its own destiny, needing just one win to clinch the Sierra League title outright.
Now, the Tigers will be depending on the arch-rival Carson Senators if they are to take the title home.
Douglas was swept by an upstart North Valleys squad in Reno Thursday, 16-4 and 6-2, while Carson was defeated by Damonte Ranch 8-7, clearing up the playoff picture but clouding up the seeding for at least one more day.
North Valleys clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the Sierra League with the wins, eliminating Reno from the picture.
Douglas on the other hand, must wait on the result of the Carson-Damonte Ranch game Friday to know where it will be playing in the playoffs.
A Carson win Friday would give the Tigers the league title and home-field advantage through their bracket of the playoffs.
Douglas was plagued throughout the afternoon Friday by bad breaks on offense and some control problems from the mound as Tiger pitchers hit a combined 10 batsmen through the two games.
North Valleys’ Billy Thomas hit two home runs in game one, including a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule.
Niko Saladis, Brandon Bernard and Tim Rudnick each drove in a run and Phil Mannelly, Willie Morgan and Rudnick each doubled.
North Valleys came out with a four-run first inning, and steadily built its lead from there, scoring three in the third, two in the fourth and seven in the fifth.
Things were much closer in game two as North Valleys got on the board in the bottom of the first when Chase Perkins hit a sacrifice fly to score Nate Brown.
Douglas evened things up in the top of the third on a solo home run from Jordan Hadlock to left field.
The Panthers broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, however, scoring three runs after a single, a walk and a hit batsmen loaded the bases. They brought two more across in the fifth to push their total to six while Morgan on a Tyler May triple.
Nate Whalin was efficient on the mound, striking out six, walking one and scattering five hits over four innings, but was crippled by five hit batsmen due in part to his curveball not breaking right into the strong wind.
Douglas jumped on North Valleys early, getting nine runs in the first inning alone on its way to a 14-2 win in game one.
The Tigers completed the three-game sweep with a 20-4 thumping of the Panthers in game two.
Stephanie Harper picked up the wins in both games.