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Tigers bomb Grizzlies

by Chuck Smock

The Douglas baseball team was on the verge of letting two errors in the fifth inning dash any hopes of beating the highly regarded Galena Grizzlies on Thursday at DHS.

And, for about an inning and a half, the Tigers also flirted with wasting a dominating pitching performance by sophomore Austin Graham.

Instead of dwelling on their mistakes, the Tigers, who had managed just four hits through five innings, exploded for nine runs on five hits and three walks in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 10-4 victory.

“We were down 3-1 and we were concerned that a couple of little things could really make the difference,” Douglas coach Fred Bendure said. “But in the bottom of the sixth inning the bats really got loose, didn’t they?”

Shane Cauley got things going in the sixth with a three-run home run to right center field that scored Graham, who led off with a walk, and Ryan Haltom, who had singled.

“We made a few mistakes, but our team is very good as far as fundamentals and I was sure we’d come back and make something out of the game,” Cauley said.

Adam Sheldon and Andrew Andrews each walked before Jordan Ovard reached on an error and Johnny Mannelly added an RBI single to keep the rally going. Graham capped the big inning with a triple that brought home Ovard and Mannelly.

Haltom followed with a sacrifice fly that allowed Graham to score the Tigers’ 10th run.

Graham struck out 10 batters -all in the first four innings while he was limiting Galena to just two hits – and scattered six hits.

A pair of Douglas errors allowed Galena to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth. A leadoff double in the sixth and two wild pitches by Graham gave the Grizzlies their third run – and a two-run advantage that looked like it might be enough to allow Galena to rebound from losing both games of a doubleheader to Reed on Saturday.

Graham said he never got discouraged on Thursday.

“You’re going to make errors every once in a while, but we came back,” the sophomore said. “Andrew Andrews (in center field) made a great catch to end the game. (Cauley’s home run) was great. That started a big ol’ rally.

“I figured after we had seen that guy (Galena pitcher Brandon Evans) once, we’d be able to pick him up pretty good.”

Cauley was two-for-four with three RBI and two runs scored.

Mannelly was two-for three with an RBI and scored one run .

Sheldon was two-for-two with a double, a single and a walk.

Graham scored two runs and reached base in three of four at-bats.

The Tigers will play host to Hug High today in a doubleheader that is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Douglas will travel to Elko on Tuesday to play one game.