Late rally lifts Tigers to victory
Kaleb Foster said he was simply trying to relax and make contact with the ball.
The Douglas High junior catcher did much more than that Thursday afternoon when he slammed a three-run homer to highlight a big seventh inning rally as the Tigers rallied for a 10-3 victory against North Valleys in Reno.
Douglas (13-4 overall, 7-1 league) scored nine runs in the top of the seventh to erase a 3-1 deficit in the Northern Division I contest. With one out in the inning, the left-hand swinging Foster stepped to the plate with Cale Kynett and Dalton Grisell aboard and hit a drive over the right field fence to put the Tigers on top, 4-3.
“I knew we were down so I was just trying to stay relaxed,” Foster said. “It was a see-ball, hit-ball type of attitude; I got a fastball inside and made contact … right on the barrel … I was pretty confident after I hit it.”
There is an old baseball adage about hitting being contagious and the Tigers seemed to pick up after Foster’s hit. They put together a string of hits, including a three-run double by Michael Mejia, to break the game open.
“That did seem to spark us because everyone else started hitting after that,” Foster said.
Coach Bruce Jacobsen was relieved to see the Tigers stretch their lead from one to seven runs.
“Kynett and Grisell set the table and then Foster hits the home run to give us the one-run lead,” Jacobsen said. “The past few weeks, we haven’t been stringing hits together, so to see us do that and add those extra runs, that was certainly huge.”
No doubt, the seven-run cushion came as a welcome sight to Kyle Johnson, who returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and slammed the door shut on North Valleys (3-10, 2-6). The senior right hander only needed to throw 100 pitches for what wound up as a complete-game, seven-hit, 12-strikeout gem. It also marked the second win of the series for Johnson, who worked the final 1.1 innings in relief Tuesday to close out a 5-3 win against North Valleys at Tiger Field.
“That game was all about the seventh inning,” Jacobsen said. “We didn’t play badly for six innings. We just had a couple of miscues that allowed them to take that lead. And we hit some at-’em balls that kept us from scoring in situations with the bases were loaded and with runners on second and third.
“Give them (North Valleys) credit; they made some plays to take that lead. But our kids showed a ton of resolve and belief that we could win.”
Note: The Tigers face Bishop Manogue on April 22 in a 4 p.m. league contest at Aces Ballpark, home of the Pacific Coast League Reno Aces.