Douglas 2-0 heading into bracket finals
For the second afternoon in a row, the Douglas baseball team got a walkoff single from the lower half of its lineup to seal up a victory.
This one, however, didn’t come in as close of a game.
Willie Morgan slapped a bases-loaded, two-out single to deep right center to score Cory Eilers and give Douglas an 11-1 win over McQueen in the second round of the Northern 4A playoffs Wednesday afternoon in Minden.
The win came a day after Ryan Pruitt lined a single into left to give Douglas an 11-10 win over Reed.
Douglas improved to 2-0 in the playoffs and took on the winner of McQueen-Reed Thursday. The results of that game will be online at http://www.recordcourier.com.
“It’s important not to get on too big a high,” Douglas coach John Glover said. “This thing is far from over. Nobody is going to hand us the zone championship or even the championship on this side (of the bracket).
“McQueen is a great baseball team and so is Reed. We know we’ll have a battle on our hands tomorrow, whoever we face.”
Morgan’s single capped a five-run sixth inning to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule as Douglas turned what was a pitcher’s duel into a blowout over the final three innings.
McQueen’s Luke Feiler held the Tigers hitless for 3 1/3 innings while the Lancers managed to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
The Lancers’ Brian Barnett doubled to left, advanced to third on a balk and scored on a passed ball with one out, which ended up being the extent of the scoring from one of Northern Nevada’s top offenses on the afternoon.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Douglas’ Cory Eilers drew a walk. Nate Whalin then broke up the no-hitter with a sharp double to right center, bringing Eilers around to score.
“Sometimes it just takes a little while to get adjusted to a new pitcher,” Glover said. “Feiler is good and he was throwing two pitches for a strike.”
Ryan Pruitt followed Whalin’s double by drawing a walk and Willie Morgan also walked to load the bases.
Tim Rudnick then grounded into a fielder’s choice as Morgan was thrown out at second. In trying to turn the double play to end the inning, the throw from second to first bounced past Lancer first baseman Kyle Stewart, allowing Whalin and Pruitt to score. Douglas carried a 3-1 lead out of the inning and never trailed from that point.
On the other side of the ball, Douglas sophomore Wyatt Graham was stellar in his first regional playoff action as he struck out five and scattered four hits over six innings to pick up the win.
“He threw a lot of strikes and didn’t walk anyone,” Glover said. “That’s important, not to give them any base runners because McQueen is a great hitting ball club.”
Douglas kept it going in the bottom of the fifth as Jordan Hadlock singled to shallow center and Niko Saladis sacrificed him to second. Phil Mannelly singled to left to bring Hadlock in, putting Douglas up 4-1.
Later in the inning, Whalin hit a two-run homer to right center to put Douglas up 6-1.
Hadlock homered with Morgan on third in the bottom of the sixth and Eilers hit a run-scoring single to push the score to 9-1.
Mannely later came around to score on a passed ball, setting up Morgan’s RBI single to end the game.
“I have to be happy with how they swung it today,” Glover said. “The key is tomorrow and seeing if they can stay in that mode.”
On Tuesday, Pruitt delivered a one-out walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Tigers the 11-10 win.
Pruitt’s game-winner came in a game that saw the lead change hands six times and the Tigers surrender three two-run home runs, going down by as many as four runs at one point.
Douglas trailed 8-6 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but brought three runs across when Pruitt laid down a tough bunt with two on and no outs.
Reed’s pitcher made a play on the ball, but his throw bounced in front of first base and rolled into right field. Eilers and Whalin came around to score on the play and Pruitt advanced all the way to third.
Brandon Bernard later hit a sacrifice fly to deep right, allowing Pruitt to score and giving the Tigers a 10-8 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
Reed’s Tony Maldonado hit an RBI double and Casey Yocom singled to bring Maldonado home tying the score back up at 10 in the top of the seventh, but Douglas started the bottom half of the inning with the heart of its lineup coming to the plate.
Saladis led off with a single to right and Mannelly chopped a single to shallow right, which allowed Saladis to advance to third.
Eilers then popped up high to first base, but on a bizarre play, the Raiders’ first and second basemen crossed wires and allowed the ball to drop. Eilers reached base safely, but Mannelly was thrown out at second, leaving Saladis at third.
Graham drew a walk to load the bases and Pruitt blasted the ball right past the third baseman to bring Saladis home for the winning run.
Douglas took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second when Whalin led off with a single to right and Pruitt doubled to left center to bring Whalin around.
Bernard sacrificed Pruitt to third and May hit a ground rule double to right to score Pruitt.
Reed bounced back in the top of the third, getting a run when Yocom scored on a bases-loaded error and another when Kyle Wood hit a sac fly to score Alex Steward.
The Raiders took a 6-2 lead in the top of the fourth on twin two-run homers from Yocum and C.J. Maldonado, but Douglas rallied back in the bottom of the fourth with three runs of their own.
Sitting in a two-out hole, May singled and advanced to second on a passed ball and Hadlock singled to shallow left, allowing May to score.
Saladis then singled to left, and Mannelly followed with a single to score Hadlock. Eilers singled to bring Saladis around, completing a three-run, five-hit stretch all with two outs.
Douglas took a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the fifth Saladis tripled to deep center with two on and two outs, allowing May and Hadlock to score.
Reed took the lead back, this time at 8-7, in the top of the sixth when Maldonado hit his second two-run blast of the afternoon.
Whalin got the start and struck out six in four innings of work, Troy Torres was exceptional in relief, pitching two innings of one-hit ball and Hadlock picked up the win after pitching the top of the seventh, striking out two.