MINDEN - It came down to a whole lot of action in the first two innings and a pair of dominating performances on the mound through the rest of the game Wednesday afternoon at Tiger Field.
The Douglas baseball team was fortunate enough to come out on the better end of the early outburst, taking a 6-1 lead through the bottom of the second and holding the score static through the remaining five frames to capture the first game against Reno in a series that will decide the Sierra League title.
"We're just trying to play good baseball and have fun," Douglas coach John Glover said. "We worked all year to get to this point. Now it's just about enjoying playing the game, whatever happens is going to happen."
The victory placed Douglas one win away from clinching the league as the two teams will meet again Thursday in Reno and close out the series Friday back in Minden.
After Reno's Thomas Wood scored on a Shawn Walters fielder's choice in the first inning, Douglas came back in the bottom half to do the majority of its damage for the game.
Catcher Jordan Hadlock led off with a triple off the wall in right-center field and Tanner Thomas followed by slugging the third pitch he saw over the right field fence for the quick 2-1 lead.
"Tanner and I have really been working on that a lot, trying to set the tone for the game," Hadlock said. "We happened to get a hold of a couple pitches today.
"Their guy (Tom Jameson) was throwing the ball pretty hard. If you happen to make good contact when a guy is throwing that hard, it's going to go."
Things didn't slow down for Douglas after that as Timmy Rudnick singled to shallow left and Tyler Hoelzen drew a walk.
After two fly outs, Zach McFadden doubled down the left-field line to score both runners and Michael Whalin followed with a single to bring McFadden home.
Reno put two runners on with one out in the top of the second with a throwing error from Douglas and a walk, but Tiger starter Tyler Hoelzen took control incuding a pop up to short with runners on second and third and striking out the Huskies' leadoff man to end the threat.
Douglas brought what would be the game's final run across with one out in the bottom of the second as Rudnick doubled to bring Hadlock home.
At that point, Reno brought Cavin Hill in to pitch, marking the Huskies second switch on the mound in the game.
Hill struck out seven over the remainder of the game, including a stretch of five strikeouts in a row through the third and fourth innings. After giving up single to open the third, he retired 11 of 13 to close out the game.
"You have to tip your cap to Cavin Hill," Glover said. "He was awesome out there. He came in and shut us down, just did a great job."
Hoelzen wasn't about to be outdone, though.
He threw six straight balls to open the top of the fourth but after a brief conference at the mound, he came back to retire seven straight batters and 12 of the last 13 to close out the game with the complete-game four-hitter.
"Out there on the mound, we just talked about regaining your focus and getting back to work," Glover said. "He was getting a little frustrated, but he was throwing well. It was just a matter of concentration and not worrying about the last pitch. He did a great job of getting out of that."
Reno's hits came from the 2, 3 and 4 hitters as Walters went 2-for-3 and Wood and Pat Gallagher each had one.
While the win gave Douglas the early momentum in the series, Hadlock said the Tigers aren't about to let up through the next two games.
"We have to play to win," Hadlock said. "That's the bottom line. It'll be a tough series. They have a couple strong guys coming to the mound, like Drew Simpson, so we're going to have to be at the top of our game."