For the past five years or so, getting a Sierra League victory against the Reno Huskies has been hard enough.
Sweeping a three-game series from them has been unheard of, but the Douglas baseball team wrapped up a rare series sweep Saturday afternoon, beating the Huskies 7-5 and 13-0 in a doubleheader at Reno High and running their win streak to 13 in a row.
"This past week, we just thought a lot about going out there and playing our hearts out and doing our best," Douglas' Chad Walling said. "We just wanted to get a couple wins out of it."
The Tigers managed to do better than that.
Walling pitched a complete game and held off a late comeback to seal game one, but the Tigers put an exclamation point on the series in game two by pounding out 10 hits and ending the game in five innings by the 10-run mercy rule as D.J. Brady threw a two-hitter against the potent Reno lineup.
"I didn't expect that," Douglas coach John Glover said. "The first game was a good game, but the second one - there was no way I ever thought that would've happened."
Douglas has been the perpetual thorn in the Huskies side over the last two years. Reno has only lost five league games in the last three years, and four of those have come against the Tigers. Three came in the last week.
"It's fun to beat a good team, and that is a great team over there, but we have a long way to go," Glover said. "We know they'll be in the playoffs and they'll be ready to go. We need to enjoy this, but we also need to move on."
Douglas held a 7-2 lead entering the seventh inning in game one, but the Huskies were able to pull three runs across and had two runners on with one out and the tying run at the plate before shortstop Jimmy Pierce scooped up a grounder, stepped on second and made the throw to first to end the game.
"Walling did a great job," Glover said. That's a tough thing to do, to go up against (Reno starter Davis) Banks, who is a really good pitcher.
"Chad had been doing that all year. He got a little tired at the end, but he sucked it up and I thought he did a good job of getting it finished."
Douglas broke the game open with a five-run fourth, keyed by a big two-out hit from sophomore Ryan Pruitt.
"It was a big hit," Glover said. "He didn't hit the hell out of it, but he got it in play and that is important, especially for some of these younger kids to get that done. That was a big at bat right there."
In game two, Douglas took control early and didn't look back.
Walling doubled on the first pitch of the game and Spike Agosta followed by reaching on an error at third. Jimmy Pierce then singled to bring Walling across to get the Tigers going.
Douglas came alive again in the third with two outs as Agosta reached on a throwing error at short, Pierce singled and Brady drew a walk to load the bases. Kyle Luken then reached on another error at short, bringing Agosta home and Pruitt walked to bring Pierce home.
The Tigers brought another run across in the fourth as catcher Roman Davis doubled to deep center and Agosta singled to bring him home.
Douglas slammed the door shut in a nine-run fifth inning that featured four pitching changes by the Huskies, four walks, two hit batsmen and five hits.
With two runs already across, sophomore Chris Balcom sent a bases-loaded rocket off the fence in right field for a three-run double. Balcom later scored on a Pierce sacrifice, Phil Mannelly added a big two-run single and Walling scored on a Brady double.
Brady, who was only chosen as the game two starter after the first game ended, turned in a solid performance that saw him take a no-hitter into the fourth.
"It was a last-minute decision after the first game," Glover said. "Chris Balcom is due back after some soreness with his elbow, but we threw D.J. out there, and he did well last week against Hug and he did a great job for us today.
"He threw strikes and let his defense work."
He had tremendous help from his defense all afternoon, including several standout plays at third by Balcom, an acrobatic catch at second by Walling and a diving over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory by first baseman Kyle Luken.
"I'm really proud of how the kids played defense today," Glover said. "They did a great job all day.
"That's something that we preach and I know that Reno does too. Just get the routine plays made and good things will happen. I hope our kids continue to buy into that, especially the pitchers. They see that they don't have to strike everybody out. They have a defense back there that'll make plays when they need to."
Douglas (19-5-1, 12-0) now sits in the driver's seat in the Sierra League as the only remaining unbeaten team, but the slate only gets tougher as No. 3 Spanish Springs comes to town Tuesday for a 3:30 p.m. game, and No. 2 Wooster waits just around the corner with a three-game series next weekend.
"(The Reno series) gives us a lot of momentum going into next week's games," Walling said. "Wooster, Carson and Spanish Springs are all still to come and those will all be big, tough games.
"We've been playing great baseball and getting great pitching from D.J., Tyson (Estes), all the way around. We had good defense all weekend, we swung the bats well. It just gives us a lot of momentum going into the next few weeks."