Senators, Tigers split twinbill
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
Four words describe a doubleheader with a combined 43 runs, 49 hits and a six-run rally for the win in the seventh and final inning of the opener: It's Douglas and Carson.
The Tigers fought their way back from a game one meltdown to salvage a split with the Senators Saturday at Ron McNutt Field, notching a 14-10 victory in the nightcap after dropping the first game, 10-9.
The twinbill exemplified how the rivalry between the Carson Valley teams is the Sierra League's version of Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier - no matter how many times they go at it and whatever their records might be, more likely than not it's going to be a slugfest.
Following the game, both sides expressed a mutual admiration for each other.
"That team in the dugout (Douglas) takes advantage of every mistake you make," Carson coach Steve Cook said. "They probably had a little extra motivation going into the last game. We know what Douglas is going to do, and that's put pressure on us."
"You've got to give them a lot of credit," Douglas assistant coach Bob Rudnick said of the Senators. "They don't quit. They stuck to what they do well. They're well coached and play hard."
The teams were locked 1-1 after the first inning of the opener, then the Tigers went off for six runs over the third and fourth.
Right fielder Tanner Thomas and shortstop Tim Rudnick both scored on an error to put Douglas up 3-1.
Another Carson error brought home Tyler May before Cameron Van Winkle doubled in Jeff Crozier to make it 5-1 in the fourth.
An RBI double by Rudnick (2-for-3 with three runs) and an RBI single by Crozier (2-for-3 with two runs batted in) gave Douglas a 7-1 lead in the fifth.
Down, but not out, Carson battled back for three runs in the sixth to close the gap to 7-4. Paul Cagle doubled in Kyle Stone (2-for-3) and first baseman Cody Barr belted a two-run homer to dead center.
The Tigers added a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, but went Chernobyl in the bottom half of the frame as Carson took advantage of six walks and one error, scoring six runs on one hit - a game-winning single by Drew Good - to take the opener.
Jordan Hadlock, who stepped in for starter Michael Whalin (six innings, seven hits and four earned runs), took the loss for the Tigers.
David Charles got the win for Carson, which also saw action from (starter) Rob Valerius, David Perce and Tyler Hutchins.
"It's huge," Cook said of the game one victory. "We sneak one - one out of three against Reno and Douglas. You can look at it like you want to do more than that, but considering the circumstances, it gives us a shot (in league). Now we have to go take care of business with the other teams. If we would've lost (both games) today, it would've left us with little margin for error."
Rather than mope, Douglas, now 5-1 in league play, came out fired up in the nightcap, putting up five runs in the first inning.
"They knew - everybody knew they had a good opportunity the first game and didn't get it done," Bob Rudnick said. "Going into the second game, they knew what they had to do."
And what they did was keep the pressure on after Carson scored two in the bottom of the first - on a two-run homer by Cagle - and added another in the third to make it 5-3.
Van Winkle homered and Hadlock added an RBI single in the fifth before Douglas added three more runs in the sixth to go up 10-3, putting Carson on the verge of a knockout.
Cagle, who was 2-for-3 with five RBI, kept Carson in it with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.
Douglas pushed the score to 13-4 in the sixth, but the Senators slugged back with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
A sacrifice fly by starter Rudnick put the Tigers up 14-8, enough to render Carson's two-run seventh moot and preserve the win.
Rudnick threw 104 pitches over six-plus innings to get the win. Van Winkle pitched the last inning, keeping the Senators from pulling another comeback.
"(Tim Rudnick) had a lot of pitches, but he battled," Bob Rudnick said. "We didn't have a lot of arms today. That first game didn't help us with a lot of runs. Our freshman Cameron came on and got it done. Timmy gutted it. I don't think he had anything left in the tank, but he got us to the seventh inning."
Hadlock went 3-for-5 with three RBI, Rudnick finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and Van Winkle was 1-for-3 with three RBI. Troy Torres hit a two-run homer in his only at bat, putting Douglas up 13-4.
Next up for Douglas is a home game with red-hot Damonte Ranch on Thursday. The contest begins at 3:30 p.m.
"They're good. They're very well coached and a good baseball team," Rudnick said of the first-place Mustangs. "They're undefeated - I think they have a streak of 10 or 11 in a row. With our situation, Coach (John) Glover stresses that we take it one game at a time. He stresses that constantly."
Starter David Eller took the loss for Carson, lasting one inning before Charles, Perce, Stephen Sawyers and Barr pitched in relief.
"Right now, we're down a little," Cook said. "We thought we had a little momentum going into game two. David's a little sore. He didn't tell anyone. He wanted to get it done that bad. We went by committee. Young kids make mistakes. You get hit hard."
The Senators, now 2-4 in league and 10-9 overall, will host Hug Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
• Contact Mike Houser at mhouser@nevadaappeal or 881-1214.