Tigers, Senators to meet for playoff berth
Reno 19-1 .950 -
Manogue 15-5 .750 4
McQueen 15-5 .750 4
Damonte 14-6 .700 5
Galena 14-6 .700 5
Reed 13-7 .650 6
Sp. Springs 11-9 .550 8
Carson 8-12 .400 11
Douglas 7-13 .350 12
Wooster 3-17 .150 16
No. Valleys 1-19 .050 18
Hug 0-20 .000 19
Galena 8-12, Douglas 7-2
Carson 10-9, Wooster 0-4
Bishop Manogue 7-6, Damonte Ranch 5-4
McQueen 11-12, North Valleys 0-7
Reed 13-15, Hug 0-0
Reno 11-11, Spanish Springs 3-3
Note: The region tournament finishes May 11 at Reno High and May 12 at Galena. Douglas or Carson will travel for a first round game Tuesday against the Reno Huskies. Two teams advance to the 4A state tournament on May 17-19 at Bishop Manogue, Reno and Galena.
Two wins now stand between the Douglas High baseball team and a berth in the Northern 4A playoffs.
Simply put, Douglas (7-13 conference, 9-16 overall) needs to win games tonight and Thursday against rival Carson (8-12, 14-16) to secure the final seed into the region tournament next week.
The Tigers and Senators meet Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Carson’s Ron McNutt Field and conclude the regular season on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. at Tiger Field. Eight teams qualify for the region tournament starting on Tuesday.
Just take it one game at a time.
“We need two to get to the playoffs, and we can’t get two without winning the first one,” Douglas coach Don Amaral said on Monday.
Carson coach Bryan Manoukian echoed those words when he spoke to the Nevada Appeal.
“Essentially, I view it as a play-in game (series) for both teams,” he said. “This is always the way it seems to be. The last four or five years the games have been really good, and I don’t expect anything less.”
The Tigers missed an opportunity to pick up a game Saturday when they dropped both ends of a doubleheader against Galena in Reno, an 8-7 cliffhanger in game one, followed by a 12-2 loss in game two. Meanwhile, Carson ended an eight-game losing streak on Saturday by taking two games from Wooster.
This is a similar scenario to last year, when Douglas needed to beat its rival twice to reach the playoffs. The Tigers took a 7-6 walk-off win at home, only to see the Senators win the final game at home, 5-3.
Carson ace Ben Nelson is expected to start on the mound tonight when the Senators celebrate Senior Night. Douglas plans to start junior left-hander Elijah Hinojosa, while Andrew Rangel and Jayden Foster are rested and available for the series.
“We’re going to hand the ball to Eli and see what happens,” Amaral said of Hinojosa, who pitched six innings of six-hit ball last Wednesday in a no-decision against Wooster and seven innings of six-hit ball in a 3-1 loss to Bishop Manogue the week before.
On Saturday, the opener went back and forth, as the Tigers enjoyed a 12-8 advantage in the hit column and the defending region tournament champion Grizzlies committed five errors in the field.
Douglas scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning, only to fall short in its 8-7 loss. Galena (14-6, 17-13) scored three runs in the second inning to take a 4-3 lead and added two more runs in the third to go up 6-4.
In the Tigers’ seventh, freshman Chris Thacker hit a one-out double to drive two runs home. Foster greeted relief pitcher Aidan Elliott with a line drive single into right field that drove Thacker home, however, the potential tying run was left stranded on second base after a strikeout and infield fly out.
Douglas had the bases loaded in the third inning, only to come away scoreless on an outfield fly ball double play. The Tigers also left the bases loaded in the fifth inning with a strikeout to retire the side.
Foster hit 3-for-5 and Thacker 3-for-4 to lead the Tigers offensively. Matthew Goff went 2-for-2 and Blake Murray 2-for-4. Rangel hit a double to lead off the third inning and scored to tie the game at 4-all.
Nolan Craddock hit 2-for-4, while Andrew West and Niko Pezonella drove in two runs each. Pezonella came into the weekend with a share of the conference lead with his .558 batting average.
Gage Hoyle started on the mound and worked 2.1 innings, allowed six runs (three earned) on four hits. Murray pitched the final 3.2 innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits.
Galena scored four runs in the second inning and added six more in the fifth inning to break up a close contest. The Tigers scored twice in the fourth inning to pull within 4-2.
Rangel hit 3-for-3 to lead the Tigers, who finished the game with six hits as a team. Goff hit a double in the fourth inning.
Craddock pitched five innings of four-hit ball to go with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Galena scored twice in the sixth inning to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
Charles Douglas hit 3-for-4 and drove in four runs, including a two-run single to cap Galena’s fifth inning rally. Craddock also hit a run-scoring double in the fifth. Galena finished with 14 hits.
“We had so many opportunities to win that first game,” Amaral said. “But we’ll be ready to get after it on Wednesday.”