Cauley is a big hit in his return |

Cauley is a big hit in his return

Dave Price column

When the Nevada Yankees faced a player shortage for their game against the Tahoe Emeralds last Thursday night, manager Ron Cauley decided he had no choice but to come out of retirement and inserted himself into the lineup at DH.

He made the best of his comeback, hitting run-scoring doubles in the seventh and eighth innings of the Yankees’ 19-9 victory at Lampe Park in Gardnerville. Cauley hit a bases loaded double to right in the eighth to drive in two runs and end the game on the 10-run rule. In the seventh, he hit an RBI double off the left field fence and then scored when Ryan Godfrey homered over the left field fence.

Not bad considering the 48-year-old attorney hadn’t hit in a game since the 1970s.

“I don’t think I’d had a live baseball at-bat in 25 years. I think that qualifies as a long layoff,” said Cauley, who hit 2-for-5 for the night.

To make the occasion all the more special, one of the runners who scored on his game-ending hit was his own son, Shane, who just graduated from Douglas High School and has signed to play baseball at the University of San Francisco.

“Shane was on third, so that was way cool,” Ron said. “I was laughing all night and the kids were laughing, too. It was just a terrific experience.”

Cauley wrote himself into the lineup when only 10 players showed up for the game, and then he went out to play second base after Ryan Haltom sustained a broken toe.

“We’re really thin right now because we’ve got players who are going back to school and other commitments,” said Cauley, a shortstop during his own playing days at Carson High School. “I didn’t want to have my pitcher hit, so I figured I had to play.

“I’ve been out there coaching this team three years now and this was my first AB. The only problem was my lower back and hamstrings … I never remember being that tight before,” he added with a laugh. “I think I’ll retire for the season with that .400 batting average … and I think the slugging percentage is .800.”

Cauley played seasons at shortstop for Carson High before his graduation in 1971.

“Carson had a tradition of producing outstanding shortstops at the time. I followed two incredible players: John Gamble (who later played major league ball with the Detroit Tigers) and Gary Bushman. Compared to those two, I’m not sure I held up my end of the tradition,” Cauley said.

Cauley is now at the helm of a Yankees semipro program that was founded by Hal Wheeler in 1994. The current roster includes five players who are headed to Division I programs at USF and Santa Clara.

“We’re having a great time. The kids are enjoying themselves,” Cauley said. “The program was really strong when Hal had it; right now we’re trying to get it back there and I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

The Yankees resume their summer schedule today with a 6:30 p.m. game against the Reno Owls at Governor’s Bowl in Reno and then they travel to Arcata, Calif., this weekend to play a four-game series against the Humboldt Crabs. The Crabs are in their 58th year and lay claim to being the oldest continuously operating semipro baseball team in the country.

“They’re always a quality team and they get crowds of 1,000 for their weekend games, so it’s quite a challenge, but we’re looking forward to playing up there,” Cauley said of the series against the Crabs.