Baseball: Douglas rebounds to break losing streak
While the games didn’t count in the league standings, the Douglas High baseball team had a big day Wednesday at the Spanish Springs Spring Break Tournament.
Douglas snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating McQueen 10-4.
Later in the day, the Tigers edged out Reed 4-3 with some seventh-inning heroics.
“Walking away with a pair of wins against Division I teams, we’ll take that every day,” Douglas coach Bruce Jacobsen said. “Reed is a good team. They’ll be right in the mix and we have them coming to our place in two weeks. That’ll be a huge series for us.”
Douglas had opened the tournament Tuesday with a 10-5 loss to Carson.
Both teams chose to rest many of their starters.
“We just wanted to get some guys that haven’t gotten a whole lot of time in there and reward them for the hard work they’ve been putting in during practice,” Jacobsen said. “They got some good experience and it’s won of those things, it seems like every year, late in the year, we need someone to step up off the bench. Hopefully the extra experience can pay off for them down the road.”
Jace Zampirro, Danny Guthrie and Chase Blueberg led the Carson offense with two hits apiece. Blueberg hit a three-run homer and Casey Wolfe drove in three runs with a two-run double and infield out.
Consecutive doubles by Dusty Fisher and Kaleb Foster plus an error gave the Tigers an early 2-0 lead against Carson starter Dustin Dutcher, but Carson battled back to tie the game at 2 on run-scoring singles by Cody Schmidlin and Nevin Elliott.
Andrew Bigam’s infield single made it 3-2 Douglas in the top of the second, but Carson took the lead for good at 6-3 with four runs off Peck in the second, three coming off Blueberg’s homer to left and Wolfe’s ground ball out.
Blueberg had been 2a-for-7 with five strikeouts before going deep.
“Chase’s problems has been pitch selection,” Manoukian said. “He’s been swinging at fastballs over his head and curves in the dirt. Today, he made the pitchers pitch and didn’t help them.”
“Things are coming together,” Blueberg said. “I think the last homer I had was last summer at Galena. I’ve been struggling lately, and I’ve tried not to think about it.”
Carson made it 7-3 in the fourth when Dom Norton singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Zampirro’s infield out.
Douglas wrapped up its scoring when Jimmy King walked and Cale Kynett was hit by a pitch. Kyle Johnson followed with a run-scoring single to score King, but Kynett was thrown out at third. Joe Almeida followed with a double to score Johnson to make it 7-5.
Carson later put the game out of reach.
Wednesday, Cale Kynett homered, Joe Almeida doubled and Nolan Weintz doubled to lead the Tiger offense.
“Joe has really been feeling it lately,” Jacobsen said. “He’s been swinging it in practice and he had a couple big pinch hits last week.
“We give him a couple starts this week and he’s making the most of it. He has not let us down, and he’s just battled all four years here. He’s put himself in the mix for the last part of the season, both at first base and at designated hitter.”
Kyle Johnson picked up the win on the mound for the Tigers.
Douglas got another standout effort in the nightcap as Dalton Grisell pitched the Tigers to the 4-3 win over Reed.
“He gave up a two-run homer in the first and another run in the third and that was it,” Jacobsen said. “He really threw well. He gave us a complete game, which was huge. He’s stepped up and earned his spot in the rotation. We have some big four-game weeks coming up and he’ll have to matchup with some of the best teams. Reed is definitely one of those.”
Kaleb Foster doubled home a run in the first, cutting the score to 2-1 and then Douglas’ bats went largely quiet until the seventh.
Weintz drew his third walk of the game, Dillon Lopez bunted him over and Cale Kynett tied the game with a double.
Almeida then got on on a dropped third strike to put runners on first and third and Jimmy King hit a sacrifice fly to bring the winning run home.
Douglas next plays Spanish Springs Friday at 10 a.m. in the tournament semifinal.