Douglas baseball beats South Tahoe
Heading into the top of the fourth inning Thursday afternoon, there wasn’t a lot separating the Douglas and South Tahoe baseball teams.
South Tahoe ace Stephen Yarrow had thrown three innings of two-hit ball and Douglas sophomore starter Wyatt Graham was carrying a no-hitter.
It all changed in one pitch.
Douglas right fielder Nate Whalin stepped up and slugged the first pitch he saw deep over right-center to put the Tigers up and Douglas rolled from there, taking an 11-0 victory over the Vikings in the league opener for both teams at Western Nevada Community College.
Ironically, Yarrow and Whalin will be teammates on that very diamond next season.
“We knew he (Yarrow) would be tough,” Douglas coach John Glover said. “He held us to four runs last year, so we knew coming in that if he was throwing we’d have a fight on our hands.
“Heading into the fourth, he was throwing a lot more breaking balls than we expected, so we asked the kids to move up in the batter’s box and use the big side of the field to their advantage. Nate just stepped up and got us started.”
After a line-out to third, Douglas’ Phil Mannelly drew a walk and Ryan Pruitt doubled down the third baseline to send Mannelly to third.
Willie Morgan drew a walk to load the bases and Graham singled to left center to bring Mannelly and Pruitt home.
Yarrow got out of the inning on a line out to center and a runner caught stealing third.
The damage was already done, however.
Graham surrendered his first hit of the afternoon, a double to the right corner by Max Simonian with two outs in the third, but induced a ground out to end the inning.
“Wyatt did a good job all afternoon,” Glover said. “He kept us in the game early, and that was important.
“He didn’t have his best stuff, but he was throwing strikes. For a sophomore he took a big step in the right direction today.”
Tahoe had been able to put runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the first inning on an error, a walk and a passed ball, but Graham retired the next three batters on a line drive to short, a strike out and a fly ball to right.
“He got out of that first inning in a pressure situation and that was big for us early on,” Glover said.
Yarrow was pulled heading into the top of the fifth in favor of Zach Kropf but he issued three consecutive walks and Cory Eilers blistered a triple to left center that cleared the bases. An error on the relay exchange then allowed Eilers to bring around the fourth run of the inning.
Mannelly then singled and Ryan Pruitt slugged a home run to left to end Kropf’s afternoon.
Douglas plated two more runs in the inning to take the 11-0 lead and South Tahoe was unable to recover.
David Shue had a one-out single in the bottom of the inning and Yarrow followed with a two-out single, but a line drive to right ended the game.
Graham scattered three hits and struck out four while walking one to improve to 2-0 on the year. Yarrow struck out four in taking the loss.
Pruitt led the Tigers with a 3-for-3 performance, including a stolen base, a double, a home run and two RBI.
Jordan Hadlock also stole a base for the Tigers.
Graham also knocked in three and Whalin had one RBI.