Tigers fall short against first-place Huskies, 5-3
A shot at first-place in the Northern 4A baseball race was within reach for the Douglas Tigers on Friday afternoon.
Three Reno pitchers combined to limit Douglas to three hits, however, and left fielder Sawyer Jaksick made a home run-saving catch in the sixth inning to help the five-time defending region champion Huskies preserve a key 5-3 win at Tiger Field.
Douglas (7-4 league, 9-6 overall) was tied 2-2 before Reno (8-3, 17-4) scored twice in the fourth inning to take the lead for good and then added an insurance run in the seventh.
Reno moved into a tie for first-place with Galena in the league standings, while Douglas had its four-game win streak snapped and dropped into a tie for third-place with Spanish Springs and McQueen. The Tigers and Huskies conclude their two-game series on Saturday.
“The kids are playing hard,” Douglas coach Marc Walling said. “They’re a scrappy group with a good overall approach to the game. We need to hit the ball better, but you can expect that against Reno pitching; they throw strikes when they need to and they keep hitters off balance.”
Drake Vestbie came out of the bullpen to pitch 2.2 scoreless innings and earn the save for San Francisco State signee Kurt Pitha (4.1 innings). Vestbie allowed one hit and struck out five. The Tigers struck out 12 times overall.
Douglas had a shot to tie the score in the sixth when Tristan Futch hit a long drive to left field that Jaksick reached up and caught as he crashed into the fence. Jaksick held on to the ball, but had to leave the game after his catch.
Haydn Brown doubled down the right field line for Douglas with one out in the seventh inning, however, Reno closed out the game on Christian Chamberlain’s diving catch of a short fly ball in center field.
Chamberlain slugged a two-run homer to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Douglas answered with two runs in the bottom of the first, sparked by Haden Brown’s pop fly single and Brown’s RBI ground out. Kindel Isham hit a two-out RBI single to keep Douglas within 4-3 in the fourth.
Keller pitched five solid innings for Douglas. The Huskies scored once and left eight base runners stranded in the second, third and fourth innings. The Tigers threw out two base runners while Isham ran down a sharply hit grounder near second base and flipped the ball to shortstop Jayden Foster for a force out to end a bases loaded rally in the third.