Douglas High baseball ends season with win against Carson
MINDEN — Anything can happen in a rivalry game, as the Douglas Tigers and Carson Senators showed Thursday.
After falling behind by nine runs, Douglas came roaring back to score 11 in the sixth inning on its way to an 11-10 Northern 4A regular season-ending victory at Tiger Field.
Douglas (8-14 conference, 10-17 overall) sent 16 batters to the plate — aided by six hits, four walks and three hit batsmen — during a rally in which it turned a 9-0 deficit into an 11-9 advantage against Carson (9-13, 15-17).
It was a similar scenario to the one that played out Wednesday night, when the Senators surged to a big early lead and then held on to secure a 10-9 playoff-clinching win at home.
Douglas coach Don Amaral, who went to the hospital after he was hit in the head with a first-inning foul ball Wednesday, was back for the rematch and celebrated the big comeback.
“The kids played hard,” Amaral said. “They’ve played well the last three weeks. If they get a break here or there, they could have picked up two or three more wins. One of the kids asked, ‘Coach, when are we going to get a break?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to win to get a break.’”
This was a game, however, when Amaral and Carson coach Bryan Manoukian played everybody on the roster. The Senators used seven pitchers (three in the sixth inning) to prepare for the region tournament next week.
“That was sort of the plan,” Manoukian said. “The way our games have broken, some of the guys haven’t got a chance to play as much as we would have liked. Today, we wanted to get them some work so they can be sharp for the playoffs.”
The Tigers only had two hits through five innings before they broke loose in the sixth. Andrew Rangel led off with a single to center field, then Jayden Foster and Ayden Murphy walked to load the bases. Blake Murray lined an RBI single to right field to put Douglas on the scoreboard. Sloane Niccoli was hit by a pitch and Maverick Duffy walked to bring two runs home and Zach Romero bounced a two-run single into center field as the Tigers pulled within 9-5.
Foster stroked an RBI single to center field to tie the score at 9-all and, after he stole second base, Murphy followed with a line drive single up the middle to drive in the go-ahead run. Next up, Duffy ripped a hot shot down that Abel Carter gloved behind third base. Carter scrambled to the bag and even though he missed the force out, he was able to apply a tag after the runner’s hand came off the bag. The Senators got their third out, however, Murphy crossed the plate in time to give the Tigers their all-important 11th run.
Of course, the Senators rallied in the top of the seventh.
Colby Zemp reached base on a throwing error, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored when Carter lined a base hit through the box. Kahle Good followed with another single and both runners advanced on a balk, however, Douglas reliever Blake Murray rang up a called strike three to end the game.
Murray pitched the final two innings to earn credit for his first win of the season.
Despite the loss, the Senators enjoyed some highlights. Carter was 5-for-5 with one RBI and a standup triple that led to a run in the second inning. The senior singled on the game’s first pitch and four of Carson’s first five batters collected base hits en route to a 5-0 first-inning lead.
Another highlight came on defense in the fateful sixth when freshman Kobe Morgan came up with a sliding catch of Sean Dunkelman’s pop fly on the left field line for the first out.
“That was a very nice play,” Manoukian said. “He got a good read on the ball while battling the sun, he was aggressive and he got it.”
Vernon Painter started on the mound for Carson and worked two scoreless innings. The left-hander allowed two hits in the second inning, but ended the rally with a strikeout.
Carson will visit the regular season champion Reno Huskies in the region tournament’s first round on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The Senators lost both ends of a two-game conference series, 7-5 on March 13 in Reno and 4-3 on March 15 in Carson City.
“That was a long time ago; they’re definitely a better team now,” Manoukian said. “We’ll have to play better, too.”
Note: Douglas junior Dario Watroba used his violin to perform the Star Spangled Banner before the game.