Douglas baseball improves to 2-0 in playoffs |

Douglas baseball improves to 2-0 in playoffs

by Joey Crandall

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 will take on the winner of McQueen-Reed Thursday at 4 p.m. at Tiger Field.

“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.”