Tigers rally from 10 down to win
Even when they were down by 10 runs on Thursday afternoon, the Douglas Tigers believed they could come back.
Sparked by a 20-hit assault, the Tigers charged to a come-from-behind 16-15 Northern 4A baseball conference victory against Spanish Springs that was ultimately decided by Ayden Murphy’s two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Douglas (3-2 conference, 6-4 overall) scored five times in the third inning then added six more runs in the fourth to turn an 11-1 deficit into a 12-all deadlock at Tiger Field. Spanish Springs (4-1, 8-2) also led 13-12 in the fifth inning and 15-14 in the top of the seventh.
Jayden Foster hit a leadoff single, Riley Wilkinson reached base when his sacrifice bunt was misplayed and both scored when Murphy hit a drive off the left field fence to end a game that lasted 2 hours, 45 minutes.
Improbable comeback? Not if you ask Murphy and Foster, who combined to bang out eight hits. Foster also played a key role on the mound, as he pitched 3.2 innings of relief to keep the Tigers in the game.
“I knew we had the bats to get back in the game,” said Foster, who went 4-for-4. “We never gave up. We took our shots and kept battling.”
Murphy was 4-for-5 with six RBI. Each of his hits drove in runs. His last hit came on a 3-1 pitch with no outs in the seventh.
“It was a fastball and I was looking for it,” said Murphy, who was mobbed by teammates at second base afterward. “It was exciting … we needed this win.”
It was a big hit, especially coming from a sophomore hitting No. 7 in the order against a Spanish Springs (4-1, 8-2) team that had won its last eight games.
“That was a big-time clutch hit,” Douglas coach Marc Walling said. “So was Jayden to lead off the inning with a hit. We had a lot of other guys step up today.”
Foster came on in relief of starter Isaiah Schat and allowed three runs on five hits. Each of the first four batters he faced reached base at the end of a seven-run third inning rally that boosted the Cougars to an 11-1 advantage.
“I had a hard time at first, but my team backed me up,” Foster said. “I just wanted to make sure I didn’t let them down.”
Foster allowed one run in the fourth and avoided further damage when Schat caught a fly ball in right field and threw a strike to Spencer Trivitt at home to complete an inning-ending double play.
Murphy doubled one run home in the third inning and lined a two-run single up the middle in the fourth. Tristan Futch added an RBI single in the fourth and Haden Keller tied the score with a line drive single that drove two runs home. The Tigers took their first lead, 14-13, on Keller’s RBI single in the sixth.
Spanish Springs regained the lead in the top of the seventh when Tanner Smith delivered a two-run double into the right-center field gap.
Josh Prizina, a University of Nevada signee, went 2-for-4 with three RBI, highlighted by a towering solo home run in the fifth inning that put Spanish Springs on top, 13-12.
Keller went 3-for-4, Kindel Isham 3-for-5, Trivitt 2-for-3 and Futch 2-for-4. Isham pitched the seventh inning to gain credit for the win.
It was all enough for the Tigers to overcome seven errors in the field that enabled Spanish Springs to score five unearned runs. Five of those errors came during the Cougars’ four-run first inning and seven-run rally in the third.
“That kind of stuff happens,” Walling said. “All of that can sway a game one way or the other and our kids just battled through it. I’m just proud of their effort.”
The two teams are scheduled to complete their two-game series Saturday at Spanish Springs.