Douglas tops Reed in playoff opener
If the Douglas baseball team has learned how to do anything well this season, it’s how to play in close games.
Ryan Pruitt delivered a one-out walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday, giving the Tigers an 11-10 victory over Reed in the first round of the Northern 4A Regional playoffs at Tiger Field.
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.
“We’ve had some tight ones this season,” Douglas coach John Glover said. “I don’t know if it helps, but I have to think that it does.
“They’ve been here before and they scratched one out today. That’s what zone playoffs are all about.”
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. Cory Eilers and Nate 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 Yocum 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.
Niko Saladis led off with a single to right and Phil Mannelly chopped a single to shallow right, which allowed Saladis to advance to third.
Cory Eilers then popped up high to first base, but in a bizarre exchange of events, 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.
Wyatt 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.
“We have confidence that any guy at any time can get the job done,” Glover said. “That’s a nice situation for us to have – there’s no sure out.”
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 Tyler May hit a ground rule double to right to score Pruitt.
Reed bounced back in the top of the third, getting a run when Yocum 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 Jordan 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.
“We’re right on track where we need to be as far as our pitching staff goes,” Glover said.
Douglas takes on the winner of Tuesday’s McQueen-Damonte Ranch game at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in Minden.
DOUGLAS 11, REED 10 at Douglas
Reed 002 402 2 – 10 8 3
Douglas 020 323 1 – 11 17 3
Moerdick, Taylor (6), Willaford (6) and C. Maldonado. Whalin, Torres (5), Hadlock (7) and Hadlock, Davis (7). WP: Hadlock (2-0). LP: Willaford. SO: Moerdick 1, Whalin 6, Hadlock 2. BB: Moerdick 4, Taylor 1, Willaford 1. Whalin 4, Torres 1, Hadlock 1.
Reed hitting: Yocum 3-4, Steward 2-3, C. Maldonado 2-2, T. Maldonado 1-3. 2B: T. Maldonado 1. HR: C. Maldonado 2, Yocum 1. RBI: Yocum 3, C. Maldonado 4, Wood 1, T. Maldonado 1.
Douglas hitting: Hadlock 3-3, Saladis 3-4, Mannelly 2-3, Eilers 1-1, Whalin 1-1, Pruitt 2-3, Bernard 1-2, May 3-3, Morgan 1-4. 2B: Pruitt 1. 3B: Saladis 1. RBI: Hadlock 1, Saladis 2, Mannelly 1, Eilers 1, Pruitt 2, Bernard 1, May 1.