Huskies rally to down Tigers
By Joey Crandall
Nevada Appeal News Service
RENO - It was simply the kind of game one would expect to see from the two top-ranked baseball teams in the region.
Clutch hitting, tough pitching, six lead changes and late-inning heroics on both sides - this one came with the works.
In the end, Reno's Skyler Kachurak looped a walk-off single to left to score Zach Sanford and even the series against the Douglas baseball team with an 11-10 victory Thursday afternoon.
"That was just a great high school baseball game," Douglas coach John Glover said. "We would have liked to win this one but Reno is just a great baseball program. We'll bounce back and be ready for tomorrow."
Reno's two-run final inning brought to an end a see-saw battle that could have really gone either way at any point.
Douglas took the early 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Troy Torres looped a two-run single over third base, bringing Jordan Hadlock and Tanner Thomas home.
Sophomore pitcher Michael Whalin retired the first three batters he saw in the bottom half, including two strikeouts, but Douglas was unable to bring any runs across in the top of the second as Reno starter Drew Simpson began to settle in.
It was the Huskies' turn in the bottom of the second as Shawn Walters drew a leadoff walk, Simpson reached on an error with one out and T.J. Jameson smacked a two-run double to tie the score.
Simpson sat the next three batters down in order in the third and put the Huskies up 4-2 in the bottom of the third with a two-run, two-out double.
After blanking Douglas in the top of the fourth, the Huskies appeared ready to break the game open after Walters blasted a bases-loaded triple to left to make it 7-2.
To make matters worse, Douglas left fielder Zach McFadden's leg buckled while attempting to make a play on the ball and had to leave the field on a cart.
But Whalin bounced back to induce a pop up to Hadlock to end the inning.
Simpson picked up two pop flies to open the fifth, but with those two outs on the board, things started to get interesting.
Thomas came to the plate and hit a double to center and Tim Rudnick followed with a double down the third-baseline to score Thomas.
Tyler Hoelzen then reached on an error and Torres singled to score Rudnick.
Crozier followed with a double to right, scoring Hoelzen and Torres.
After a Kyle Flagg single, Whalin tied the game up with a double, ending Simpson's afternoon on the mound.
Flagg came around to score on a passed ball on Tito Fuentes' second pitch, forcing Reno to bring on Glen Wallace in relief.
Two pitches later, Beau Davis reached on an error, scoring Whalin and putting Douglas up 9-7.
"They just persevered at the plate," Glover said. "There was no quit in them. We're down 7-2 with two outs and go out and put up seven runs in the inning. It's just a testament to their will to want to win. That's what makes a coach most proud is when they won't quit."
Simpson led off the bottom half with a double, which ended Whalin's afternoon on the mound. Crozier came on and retired the next two batters but Kachurak scored Simpson with a single, cutting the lead to 9-8.
The Huskies tied the game up with a one-run single from Pat Gallagher in the bottom of the sixth but Douglas took one final lead with a one-run, one-out single from Whalin in the top of the seventh.
Simpson led off the bottom of the seventh with a single for Reno and scored on a one-out triple from Sanford. Kachurak then smacked the second pitch he saw to end the game.
The win, coupled with Douglas' 6-1 win over Reno Wednesday, sets up a decisive league title game today at 3:30 p.m. in Minden. Regardless of the outcome, both schools have already clinched home games in the first round of the playoffs and will be playing for seeding purposes.
"The kids just had fun playing the game," Glover said. "They worked hard but I don't think their spirits are low. We'll go out tomorrow and give them all we've got. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't."