Big rally lifts Tigers past Carson | RecordCourier.com

Big rally lifts Tigers past Carson

First, here's the good news for the Douglas High baseball team.

Anything can happen in a rivalry game, and on Thursday afternoon, Douglas spotted Carson an early nine-run lead then came roaring back to score 11 times in the sixth inning to pull out a dramatic 11-10 Northern 4A regular season-ending victory on Senior Day at Tiger Field.

Douglas (8-14 conference, 10-17 overall) sent 16 batters to the plate — aided by six hits, four walks and three hit batsmen — during a rally in which it turned a 9-0 deficit into an 11-9 advantage against Carson (9-13, 15-17).

Now, for the bad news. The Tigers weren't as fortunate one night before when Carson surged to a big early lead and then held on to secure a 10-9 playoff-clinching win at home.

And the Tigers were eliminated from region tournament contention, and for the fifth straight year, missed the playoffs by a single game."

"This is something we can build on for next year," Douglas coach Don Amaral said about the comeback. "I will say, in the future we don't want to wait until the last game to qualify for the playoffs."

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With the playoff question already settled, both Amaral and Carson coach Bryan Manoukian played everybody on Thursday. The Senators used seven pitchers — three in the sixth inning alone — in preparation for the region tournament next week.

"That was sort of the plan," said Manoukian, whose Senators open in the region tournament Tuesday at Reno. "The way our games have broken, some of the guys haven't got a chance to play as much as we would have liked. Today, we wanted to get them some work so they can be sharp for the playoffs."

The Tigers only had two hits through five innings before they broke loose in the sixth.

Andrew Rangel led off with a single to center field, then Jayden Foster and Ayden Murphy walked to load the bases. Blake Murray lined an RBI single to right field to put Douglas on the scoreboard.

Then the Tigers picked up momentum thanks to contributions from players who had only seen limited action during the season. Sloane Niccoli was hit by a pitch and senior Maverick Duffy walked to bring two runs home. Next up, senior Zach Romero bounced a two-run single into center field as the Tigers pulled within 9-5. Chris Thacker walked to re-load the bases and Rangel was hit by a pitch to bring a run home and another run scored on Sean Dunkelman's ground out.

"I just told the guys, 'Get on base any way you can,'" Amaral said. "I told them to make the pitcher throw a strike; we had three guys reach base on walks and three others were hit by pitches, and then we had some hits to build on that."

Next up, Foster stroked an RBI single into center field to tie the score at 9-all and, after a stolen base, he scored the go-ahead run on Murphy's line drive single up the middle.

Duffy ripped a hot shot down that Carson's Abel Carter gloved behind third base. Carter scrambled to the bag, missed the force out but was able to apply a tag after the runner's hand came off the bag. The Senators got their third out, however, Murphy crossed the plate in time to give the Tigers their all-important 11th run.

The Senators rallied back in the top of the seventh. Of course. Remember, this was a rivalry game.

Colby Zemp reached base on a throwing error, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Carter lined a base hit through the box. Kahle Good followed with another single and both runners advanced on a balk, however, Douglas reliever Blake Murray rang up a called strike-three to end the game.

Despite the loss, the Senators enjoyed some highlights. For one, Carter hit 5-for-5 with one RBI and a standup triple that led to a run in the second inning. The senior singled on the game's first pitch and four of Carson's first five batters collected base hits en route to a 5-0 first-inning lead.

Another highlight came on defense in the fateful sixth when freshman Kobe Morgan came up with a sliding catch of Dunkelman's pop fly on the left field line for the first out.

"That was a very nice play," Manoukian said. "He got a good read on the ball while battling the sun, he was aggressive and he got it."

Vernon Painter, who transferred from Coleville High School after last season, started on the mound and worked two scoreless innings for the Senators. The left-hander allowed two hits in the second inning, but ended the rally with a strikeout.

Murray pitched the final two innings to earn credit for his first win of the season. Foster started and pitched two innings for the Tigers before Romero came on to pitch three innings. Romero allowed two runs on three hits in the fifth, but otherwise, the 6-foot-5 senior right-hander helped keep the Tigers in the game.

"The kids played hard," Amaral said. "They've played well the last three weeks. If they get a break here or there, they could have picked up two or three more wins. One of the kids asked, 'Coach, when are we going to get a break?' I said, 'You've got to win to get a break.'"

Note: Amaral was back on the field after he was hit in the head with a first-inning foul ball in the dugout on Wednesday. The Tigers' first-year head coach said he spent at least three hours at Carson-Tahoe Hospital to undergo tests on Wednesday night. He said he received eight stitches to his head wound.

"I feel very fortunate. My back and neck are pretty sore from the whiplash, but if I had been hit a few inches either way, it could have been very serious." … Amaral also announced try-outs for the Douglas JV summer baseball team, including all eighth grade students, will be held on Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Tiger Field. … Douglas junior Dario Watroba used his violin to perform the national anthem before the game.

STANDINGS

Reno 21-1 .952 –

Manogue 17-5 .762 4

Damonte 15-7 .714 6

Galena 15-7 .667 6

McQueen 15-7 .714 6

Sp. Springs 13-9 .571 8

Reed 13-9 .619 8

Carson 9-13 .429 12

Douglas 8-14 .333 13

Wooster 3-19 .143 18

No. Valleys 3-19 .095 18

Hug 0-22 .000 21

Thursday’s scores:

Douglas 11, Carson 10

Spanish Springs 8, Reed 6

Bishop Manogue 11, Wooster 0

Reno 11, McQueen 1

Galena 15, Damonte Ranch 14

North Valleys 10, Hug 0

Wednesday’s scores:

Carson 10, Douglas 9

Spanish Springs 11, Reed 4

Bishop Manogue 10, Wooster 2

Reno 7, McQueen 2

Damonte Ranch 11, Galena 1

North Valleys 17, Hug 1

Tuesday region pairings:

Carson at Reno, 4 p.m.

Spanish Springs at Damonte Ranch, 4 p.m.

Reed at Bishop Manogue, 4 p.m.

McQueen at Galena, 4 p.m.