Baseball: Douglas upsets Reno
With just about anyone else on the mound, you’re going to your bullpen for help when the game is tied in the of the seventh inning and the No. 1-ranked team in the region loads the bases with one out.
But the thought never even crossed Douglas baseball coach John Glover’s mind.
When you’ve got a guy like Tyson Estes on the mound, you don’t really have to think about things like that.
Estes pitched out of a huge jam in the seventh, striking out two with the bases loaded and D.J. Brady scored on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the inning as Douglas upset Reno 4-3 at Douglas High Thursday afternoon.
“Tyson’s a senior, and it takes that kind of senior leadership to get out of situations like that,” Glover said. “He stepped up and did a great job against a great-hitting team.
“That’s a very good team over there and you just have to give Tyson credit for sucking it up and getting it done there.”
For Estes, it wasn’t so cut and dried.
“We got the bases loaded and my heart kind of started to beat really fast,” Estes said. “I just tried to focus on throwing strikes and letting my defense do the work, but as it turned out I got those two strikeouts to end the inning.”
Estes struck out 11 on the afternoon, walking two and giving up 12 hits against Reno, which has been ranked No. 1 in the Sierra Nevada Sports Media Poll for the last four weeks. Douglas was ranked No. 6 for several weeks before moving up to fourth earlier this week.
“This was a huge game for us,” Estes said. “Definitely the biggest of my career. Reno is the top team. We have a list over there that says we are No. 6 and they are No. 1. so this was big.
“We wanted to come out and start the first game of this three-game series off with a bang.”
With as close as the game was throughout, it seemed destined to end on a simple mistake from either side, which is exactly what ended up happening.
Brady led off the top of the seventh with a single off of Reno reliever Tyler Heil.
Kyle Luken delivered a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Brady to second, and almost reached safely himself after Heil bobbled the ball, but the pitcher was able to recover for the out.
“We got a bunt down, you have to play for one run in the bottom of the seventh because that’s all it takes,” Glover said.
Reno coach Pete Savage then brought in right fielder John Rice to pitch to Roman Davis. Rice threw a ball and a strike before hitting Davis with a pitch, which brought Phil Mannelly to the plate with runners on second and first.
Rice’s first pitch to Mannelly got past Reno catcher Brian Hill, which allowed Brady to advance to third. Rice threw another ball and then unleashed a pitch into the backstop, and Brady was there to capitalize on it, crossing the plate well ahead of the attempted tag.
“They are just a very good team and we feel very fortunate and lucky to get out of there with a win,” Glover said. “Defensively, they are as good a team as there is around.
“You have your Renos and Woosters and Carsons and they just don’t make mistakes on defense. Kyle did a great job of getting that bunt down. He did exactly what we asked of him and we’ll take them however we can get them.”
Douglas put three runs across in the first inning and then couldn’t manufacture another run until Brady’s game-winner.
Chad Walling led the Tigers with a 3-for-3 performance that included a double and a stolen base. Luken and Davis each drove in runs for Douglas, and Brady had two runs scored.
Reno’s Anthony Stewart went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the loss. The Huskies got a great pitching performance out of Garrett Luippold, who struck out eight and walked one, but he left the game after Reno coaches carried on a prolonged dispute of a call in the sixth inning.
Douglas’ Nate Whalin struck out with the bases empty and one out in the bottom of the sixth, but reached base after the ball bounced off Reno’s Hill.
After bouncing off Hill, it was unclear whether the ball touched Whalin before or after he left the batter’s box, but the ball rolled nearly halfway up the first baseline before he reached first. Had the ball touched Whalin after leaving the batter’s box, he would have been out.
Reno coaches disputed the call with the umpires for nearly 20 minutes, and once the original ruling of safe was upheld, Savage removed Luippold from the game.
Chad Walling then doubled to move the runner to third, but Douglas couldn’t get the run across.
Estes was able to keep the potent Reno offense from putting anything huge together all afternoon. Reno loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Estes struck out Mike Lienert to end the inning.
“For some reason lately I have been having trouble getting the fastball over in the first couple of innings, but once I get going I am able to rely on my curve for an out pitch,” Estes said. “Today, though, I was able to use both the curve and the fastball, and that helped to catch a lot of guys off-balance.
“This is a good offensive team. You can’t sneak very much past them.”
Douglas, which has now won 11 in a row, travels to Reno Saturday to complete the series with a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.
DOUGLAS 4, RENO 3
Reno 110 001 0 – 3 12 2
Douglas 300 000 1 – 4 9 1
Luippold, Heil (6), Rice (7) and Hill. Estes and Davis. WP: Estes (7-1). LP: Heil. SO: Luippold 8, Estes 11. BB: Luppold 1, Estes 2.
Reno hitting: Stewart 3-4, Schochat1-3, Wallace 1-3, Banks 2-4, Heil 2-3, Hill 2-2. 2B: Hill. RBI: Stewart, Banks, Hill. SB: Stewart 2.
Douglas hitting: Walling 3-3, Agosta 1-2, Pierce 2-4, Brady 1-2, Luken 1-2, Morgan 1-2. 2B: Walling 1. RBI: Luken 1, Davis 1. SB: Walling 1. R: Walling 1, Pierce 1, Brady 2.
Records: Douglas 17-5-1, 10-0.
— Joey Crandall can be reached at email@example.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.