Douglas steals one out from under Reno
It started out as a pitcher’s duel, transformed into an offensive onslaught, travelled into the realm of a fielder’s circus and closed out with a cliffhanger.
The Douglas baseball team narrowly held on for an 11-10 victory over second-ranked Reno Wednesday afternoon as closer Jordan Hadlock induced a flyout with two runners on to record the save.
Right fielder Nate Whalin’s catch put to an end a back-and-forth battle that saw the Tigers go down by as many as five late in the game as the two teams combined for seven errors.
“It definitely wasn’t pretty, but it is always good to get a win against Reno,” Douglas coach John Glover said.
Douglas entered the bottom of the fifth inning trailing 4-1 against Reno starter Drew Simpson, who’d given up just one hit up until that point.
Tiger shortstop Tim Rudnick singled to shallow right to open the inning and Hadlock doubled to left center, sending pinch-runner Jeff White to third.
Niko Saladis then doubled to center, scoring White and Reno chose to intentionally walk Nate Whalin, loading the bases with no outs.
“They started to get to Simpson a little bit and things kind of seemed to go from there,” Glover said.
Cory Eilers followed with an infield single, allowing Hadlock to score and ending Simpson’s afternoon.
Reno coach Pete Savage then brought ace lefty Garrett Luippold in to stop the bleeding and he managed a strikeout against the first batter he faced.
Ryan Pruitt drew a walk, sending Saladis home and Whalin scored two pitches later on a passed ball, giving the Tigers a 5-4 lead.
“They did a good job of picking up runs in that inning when we needed to,” Glover said. “It was 4-1 going into that inning and that was big for us.”
Reno got out of the inning after Douglas got caught on a missed squeeze play at home and a ground ball to second.
The Huskies came back around in the top of the sixth having managed six hits against Douglas starter Tyler May, who hadn’t allowed any more than one run an inning up to that point.
After a strikeout to open the inning, Reno got a single to left from Sean Walters and Jon Dankworth reached first base on an error.
Max Marin followed with a home run to deep center, putting the Huskies up 7-5.
May got a ground out to second, but the Huskies brought three more runs across on two singles, a double and another error.
The Tigers’ Pat Lahlum came in to pitch during the middle of that outburst, but managed to get out of the inning on a fly to left.
With the momentum in Reno’s favor, Douglas started picking away at the lead in the bottom of the sixth as Brandon Bernard led off with a single and Rudnick followed with a single to center.
Hadlock then singled to center to score Bernard and Whalin reached on a one-out error, allowing Rudnick to score.
Cory Eilers hit a laser shot to left that Hadlock was able to score on and the Huskies intentionally walked Phil Mannelly to load the bases.
Pruitt then singled and advanced on an error in the outfield to bring Eilers and Whalin across to tie the score.
Reno again changed pitchers, and promptly issued an intentional walk – this time to Willie Morgan – to again load the bases.
Three pitches later, Rudnick reached on an error in the middle infield, which allowed Mannelly to score the go-ahead run.
“It’s just about continuing to battle, keeping the pressure on and not ever quitting,” Glover said. “It’s a funny game and goofy things happen. The bounces kind of went our way today.”
Hadlock came on to pitch the top of the seventh and struck out the first batter he saw. A hit batsman and a walk later, he induced a ground out and the fly ball to end the game. Lahlum picked up his second win of the year in relief.
Douglas improved to 11-4 overall and 7-0 in Sierra League play and will travel to Reno Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.
— Joey Crandall can be reached at email@example.com or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.