It seemed almost too cruel.
After fighting their way past Wooster earlier in the day, and clawing their way back out in front of Spanish Springs in the sixth inning after trailing for most of the game, the Douglas Tigers fell victim to a perfectly-placed bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday night.
Spanish Springs' Casey Rodela laid down a one-out bunt in the bottom of the seventh to bring home the winning run and cap a four-run comeback as the Cougars defeated Douglas 6-5 in the Northern 4A Regional Baseball Tournament at Carson High School.
"If they (Spanish Springs) are not as good as they are, they don't win that game," Douglas coach John Glover said. "You just tip your hat to them because that is impressive what they did."
Douglas entered the seventh inning with a 5-2 lead and seemingly everything going in their favor, but three consecutive singles to open the inning by the Cougars set up a heart-wrenching finish for the Tigers.
The Cougars' Thomas Farmer scored on a throwing error from left field with no outs and a Steve Abina two-run single with one out tied the score up, setting up Rodela's bunt.
It brought a quick end to what had been a spirited comeback for the Tigers.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the sixth, the game appeared to be all but finished for Douglas. Thursday night Spanish Springs had two-hit the Tigers and Friday night, the Cougars had again held Douglas to just two hits through six innings.
But Spike Agosta opened the inning with a sharp single to right and Jimmy Pierce singled to left.
D.J. Brady sacrificed the runners to second and third and a strike out brought Roman Davis up with two outs.
Davis cracked the first pitch he saw well over the left field wall, giving the Tigers the lead and the momentum.
Douglas scooted two more runs across in the top of the seventh, as Agosta scored on a passed ball and D.J. Brady singled Jimmy Pierce home.
"They stepped up against a very, very good team," Glover said. "Roman hit a big home run there and we put ourselves in a position to win and that is all you can ask for is to have a chance.
"I just told them how proud I am of them. They fought with every last ounce they had and there is nothing negative that comes out of this group."
Nearly lost in the aftermath of the game was a stellar performance on the mound by junior D.J. Brady, who handled a tough lineup with efficiency, striking out five and allowing three hits before being relieved in the sixth inning.
"D.J. really stepped up and kept them in check," Glover said. "There's nothing to be but proud of this team. They fought all year long and had a great season."
Earlier in the day, the Tigers stayed alive with an 11-3 win over the Wooster Colts that featured a five-strikeout, no walk effort from sophomore Chris Balcom and twin three-run home runs from Brady and Davis.
Douglas wrapped up the year 26-9-1 overall, with four of their nine losses coming against the Cougars. Outside of that, the Tigers had only one other loss to a Northern Nevada team on the year, an 11-inning, 6-5 loss at Carson.