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Douglas baseball team will play Fernley Thursday at Carson

by Chuck Smock

If Mother Nature doesn’t step in and spoil things, the Douglas baseball team should be a fairly experienced squad by Saturday night.

The Tigers are scheduled to play five games in three days this week in the Carson High Preseason Tournament.

Douglas will open the tournament against Fernley on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Carson.

The Tigers will wrap up the tournament with doubleheaders on their home field Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, the Tigers will play Lovelock at 9 a.m. and White Pine at 3 p.m.

On Saturday, Douglas hosts Battle Mountain at 9 a.m. and Lowry at 3 p.m.

The glut of games is welcomed by Douglas coach Fred Bendure, whose team starts Northern 4A Conference play on Tuesday with a home game against Carson High.

“We’re really looking forward to Thursday,” Bendure said. “We’re real excited. The kids want to get out there and get going. The pitchers have been throwing in the gym all winter, but they’re looking forward to getting out there and facing some live competition to see how their training has helped them.

“The kids are working real hard. We have some real dedicated kids.”

The Tigers faced their first live opponent on Saturday in a scrimmage with 3A Dayton High at DHS.

Douglas traveled to Sparks on Tuesday to scrimmage Reed High for a final tuneup for the Carson tournament.

Bendure said he and his assistant coaches were pleased with the Tigers’ performance against Dayton.

“Overall, the kids did real well,” he said. “We hit the ball very hard, but we know the pitching was a little weaker than we’re going to see in our division.

“Our pitchers did real well. Overall, the command was real good. And the defense played pretty well overall. We were fairly pleased with what we did Saturday.”

Seven of the nine pitchers on the Douglas roster took the mound against Dayton. Bendure said he expected to use seven or eight against Reed on Tuesday.

Scrimmages are a nice way to get a look at a lot of different players, but there’s no substitute for three-up, three-down live action when it comes time to start settling on a starting lineup.

“It’s an evaluation process,” Bendure said of his mindset heading into the preseason tournament. “We need to see where we’re at in comparison to other teams, even though most of the other teams in the tournament are 3A teams.

“We’re looking for who’s going to play which positions and what pitchers can perform in pressure situations. We need to know who’s going to step up in conference play, and these preseason games are really going to help us with that evaluation.”

Fourteen teams will play in the preseason tournament. Douglas, Carson, South Tahoe and Elko are the only 4A teams in the field, but none of the four will meet in the tournament.