Douglas hopes to end streak
The Douglas baseball team has heard enough about The Streak.
The Tigers will get a chance to do something about it this week.
Douglas hasn’t beaten Carson in baseball since 1994, a streak that now includes 18 games.
The Tigers will open Sierra League play today at Carson. And, under a new scheduling format being used this season, the Senators will come to Douglas for a doubleheader on Saturday.
In recent years, Douglas and Carson haven’t played a doubleheader, which gave Senators’ coach Ron McNutt the chance to save his ace. And he always seemed to have one for the Tigers.
In fact, Douglas’ last win over Carson came on April 16, 1994, in the second game of a doubleheader behind a six-hitter from Matt Wheeler. It was the only conference loss Carson suffered that season.
Hal Wheeler is the last Douglas coach to beat Carson. He
stepped down after the 1994 season, but returns this year as the head coach after seven years.
He knows what it’s going to take to end Carson’s run.
“They’re a good club and we’re going to have to play our top game to beat them,” Wheeler said. “I think our kids will rise to the occasion, if they don’t get too emotional they’ll do fine. It’s the rivalry and the streak.
“Everyone wants to break the streak so bad, it’s going to be hard to keep them calm.”
Playing the Senators three times in three days should help the Tigers. In years past, with only single games twice a year, Douglas players had days and weeks to think about beating Carson, but only an hour or two on the field to try to make it happen.
This year, each Sierra League team will play three-game, Thursday-Saturday series against the other six teams. The host team on Thursday will travel to the opponent’s field for a doubleheader the following Saturday.
“Early, I think it (the scheduling format) really benefits us. We have four kids we have pretty good confidence in pitching-wise,” Wheeler said. “I have to believe our second, third and fourth guys are better than most team’s second, third and fourth guys.
“This year I like the schedule. In years to come, depending on pitching depth, I might not like it.”
The Tigers, who scrimmaged Reed and Reno on March 2, got their first look at live action over the weekend in the Douglas Preseason Tournament at DHS.
Galena defeated Douglas, 8-6, on Friday.
Tiger senior Tommy Hoyle hit a two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at 5-5.
Galena responded with three runs in the top of the seventh to build a lead the Tigers couldn’t overcome. Douglas put together three hits in the bottom of the seventh, but left two runners stranded.
“We gave up some runs in the last inning and kicked the ball around a little bit and that opened the floodgates, so the speak,” Wheeler said.
Darren Muren took the loss for the Tigers. He gave up seven hits and struck out five batters in six innings.
The Tigers played Galena without senior starters Shane Cauley and Erik Olson. Cauley hadn’t participated in the NIAA-required 10 practices and Olson had a sprained Achilles tendon.
“I think if we have those two guys we come out victorious,” Wheeler said.
“But the kids who filled in, Luke Rippee at shortstop and Marc Walling at second base, both did a good job.”
Cal Lewis, the Tigers likely starter at third base, played first base on Friday. Brandon Silveira replaced Lewis at third base.
Walling was two-for-four with one run scored, while Lewis was two-for-four with two runs scored.
Austin Graham, Darren Muren, Andrew Andrews, Rippee and Hoyle each had one hit. Andrews also scored two runs.
On Saturday, the Tigers defeated Fallon, 9-3, in the morning and then beat Sparks, 13-3, in the afternoon.
Graham struck out 13 Fallon batters and allowed only three hits in three innings for the victory. Silveira didn’t allow a hit in two innings of relief work and threw 61 percent of his pitches for strikes.
Lewis hit a solo home run against the Greenwave. Jake Nielsen had a two-run double in the fourth inning. Stormy Herald knocked in two runs with a single in the fifth. Graham was two-for-four with three RBI.
Douglas then ended the tournament with a 13-3 win over the Railroaders in a game that was shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
Matt Saylo hit a bases-loaded single through a draw-in infield in the fifth to bring home three runs. Graham added a two-run single in the inning.
Hoyle earned the victory with a seven-strikeout, three-hit performance in five innings. Douglas pitching coach Rick Kester said Hoyle threw 65 percent of his pitches for strikes.
Douglas’ first game in the tournament, scheduled for Thursday against Hug, was rained out. On Tuesday, Douglas beat Fallon 10-7.