Douglas baseball beats North Valleys

It took a little while to get the bats warmed up, but after three innings the Douglas baseball team was looking a whole lot like last year's big-bopping Tigers.

The Tigers rolled up 17 hits and scored 10 runs to win both their home opener and Sierra League opener Thursday afternoon, 10-5 against North Valleys at Tiger Field in Minden.

"It was important for us to come out and play like we did today, to start the league season this way," Douglas coach John Glover said. "Coming off four losses in a row, it was important for us to get a win today."

Glover was referring to the four game stretch in which the Tigers dropped contests to Spanish Springs, currently ranked No. 1 in the Sierra Nevada Sports Media Northern Region Poll, and three games over the weekend to three of the South's top teams in Las Vegas.

The Tigers, however, didn't seem to show any ill effects from that swing Thursday afternoon.

After North Valleys' Jake Velez held Douglas scoreless through two innings, Jimmy Pierce led off the bottom of the third with a single to left.

Roman Davis brought Pierce home with a double and sacrifices from Kyle Luken and Nate Whalin brought Davis home. Chad Walling then singled to left and stole second before Tyson Estes singled to right to bring Walling home and give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Douglas didn't look back from there.

Pierce finished the game 4-for-4 at the plate with a double, and RBI and three runs scored. Estes drove in three runs and the Tigers got an RBI apiece from D.J. Brady, Davis, Luken, Whalin, Walling, and Spike Agosta.

"That kid from North Valleys (Velez) is a really good pitcher," Glover said. "He got the ball up a little and we finally got some key hits there.

"We started off slow and I was worried, but then they got going. We haven't hit the ball like that in a real long time."

Not to be overshadowed by the Tigers' offensive prowess was Douglas sophomore Chris Balcom's third consecutive solid start on the mound.

Balcom, now 2-0 on the year, struck out eight and walked only two in six innings of work to pick up the win.

"What a great effort on the mound for him," Glover said. "He is just a baby out there still, but he just plugs along and throws strikes.

"He has three pitches he's throwing for strikes and when you can do that in high school ball, you're going to be in good shape."

Balcom got off to a bit of a shaky start, surrendering two runs in the first inning on two hits, but settled in. allowing just two more runs over the next five innings.

"He is a competitor," Glover said. He just goes about the game and nothing changes. That's a quality you look for in a guy. You want to see how they react when the heat is on. So far he has done a good job."

Estes closed the game out on the mound, striking out three Panthers in the final inning.

Douglas (3-4-1, 1-0), travels to North Valleys Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m.

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