Wooster eliminates Douglas baseball

One pitch and one bad inning ended Douglas High's hopes for a trip to next week's state championship.

Fernando Benitez slammed a three-run homer with two outs in the top of the seventh, and Jake Rasner slammed the door in the bottom of the inning to lead Wooster to a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Tigers Friday in the 4A regional playoffs at Ron McNutt Field.

The loss eliminated the Tigers, who finished with a 26-8 record under second-year head coach John Glover, a Carson High graduate.

"It's disappointing," Glover said. "Wooster battled and got back in it. He (Tyson Estes) threw him a 3-2 slider. Give him (Benitez) credit. It was a pretty good piece of hitting."

Glover was referring to Wooster's five-run seventh inning, which wiped out Douglas' 5-1 lead, a lead the Tigers had held since the fourth inning.

Justin Paluluk singled to start the seventh off Douglas starter Brandon Huff. After one out, Cody Williams and Kirk Nordmeyer singled. The latter hit scored Paluluk. Iain Dykins followed with a single, scoring Williams and sending Nordmeyer to third.

Glover pulled Huff, who had fanned seven, in favor of Tyson Estes, who pitched well in the Tigers' series against Carson last week. Benitez worked the count full and then slammed a homer for what proved to be the game-winning runs.

Douglas threatened in the seventh against Wooster ace Jake Rasner.

Chris Honer singled sharply up the middle. Glover pulled Kyle Luken in favor of Stormy Herald, who was a better bunter. Honer moved to second on a wild pitch, but Herald fouled off three bunt attempts for a strikeout. Darren Bradly lined to right for the second out, and pinch-hitter Roman Davis beat out a groundball deep behind first base. With two on and two out, Bryan Miller forced pinch-runner Spike Agosta at second to end the game.

Douglas took a 3-0 lead in the second on a run-scoring double by Miller and a two-out error on Chad Walling's groundball to third base.

The Tigers extended their lead to 5-0 in the third on singles by Huff (2-for-4), Luken, Brady (1-for 3) and Agosta (1-for-2) plus an error.

Douglas would only get three hits over the last four innings.

"We kept hitting the ball," Glover said. "We just didn't get any runs across in the later innings. I don't think we relaxed at all."

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