Douglas High baseball coach Hal Wheeler said he knew that if his team played solid defense to back up its strong hitting and pitching, it would be tough to beat.
The Tigers showed that on Wednesday when they defeated Galena 6-3 in a first round Northern 4A playoff game at Reno High. Douglas earned the right to play Reno at 6 p.m. today at Carson High. The Grizzlies will play Elko at 3 p.m. at Carson in an elimination game in the double elimination tournament.
Douglas committed just one error against Galena and it proved not to be costly. The Tigers defense backed up an outstanding pitching effort by Austin Graham, who went the distance for the win.
Graham outdueled Galena's Brandon Evans, who also went the distance. Douglas was able to touch Evans for eight hits. Andrew Andrews, Matt Saylo and Graham all had two hits for Douglas while Steve LeRud hit a solo home run for Galena.
"He's a quality kid and he did a great job," said Wheeler about Graham.
Andrews set the tone when he tripled and scored on Graham's single to give Douglas a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
"We played pretty good defense," Wheeler said. "If we can play this well, then we're going to be O.K. If we can play defense, we can play with anybody.
"We made the routine plays. When we do that we're pretty tough."
Douglas will start Darren Muren today against Reno. "He's capable of beating anybody," Wheeler said. "I can't say what's going to happen. He's capable of winning the game."
Douglas lost two of three to Reno earlier in the season. "They had a great season," Wheeler said. "But they're beatable. A lot of teams played them this year really tough.
"They don't beat themselves. They do a lot of things the right way. It's just a matter of going out and making a routine play. If we do that, we're O.K."