Wooster rallies past Douglas
MINDEN — Douglas High School is the team to beat in the Sierra League baseball race this spring, according to Wooster coach Ron Malcomb.
It didn’t show in the way the Wooster Colts played on Friday afternoon, however, as they rallied from an early four-run deficit to pull out a 7-5 victory against Douglas in a showdown between league front-runners.
Wooster capitalized on six Douglas errors to score seven runs in the final four innings to win its league opener and remain undefeated overall (8-0).
Douglas (2-2, 6-4), will try to snap a three-game losing streak when it travels to Reno on Saturday for a 10 a.m. doubleheader at Wooster.
“This was a good win today. Our guys did a great job coming back like they did,” said Malcomb, whose Colts were the Northern 4A Regional runner-up and qualified for the state tournament last year.
“But, you’re only as tough as the next day,” he went on. “I still think Douglas is the team to beat in this league. They hit the ball one through nine in the order, they have great team speed, they have great pitching and I think they have great all-around depth.”
Wooster pitcher Chris Toto allowed four runs in the second inning, three unearned, but settled down and went on to win his first start of the season, with relief help from Jose Silva in the sixth.
Douglas starter Darren Muren threw no-hit ball over the first three innings and struck out seven of the first 13 batters he faced, only to see Wooster come back with three-run rallies in the fourth and sixth innings. Collin Muren pitched the seventh and allowed one unearned run on one hit.
“Darren and Collin (Muren) both threw well,” Douglas coach Hal Wheeler said. “We just gave it away. There were four routine fly balls that we didn’t catch.
“On the other hand, we can only get better. We hit rock bottom today, defensively, but we’re going to get better. We’ve just got to show up ready to play defensively every day.”
Cal Lewis doubled off the center field fence to lead off the Tigers’ second inning, then James Bunting and Tommy Hoyle drew walks to load the bases.
After a strikeout, Erik Olson hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored one run and Andrew Andrews hit a sharp ground ball that was misplayed for an error, scoring two more runs. Shane Cauley’s single to center scored another run to give Douglas a 4-0 lead.
“They had the lead and he (Darren Muren) was sticking it in our ear,” Malcomb said. “But they had some errors that seemed to flatten them out. I think that gave the momentum shift back to us.”
Pat Millsap broke up Muren’s no-hit bid with a single to left field that was misplayed for an error to open the fourth inning. Muren rang up two straight strikeouts, but Millsap came around to score from second when Beau Walker beat out a chopper toward second base. Chris Regan walked and then Kevin Lester roped an 0-2 pitch to center field for a two-run double that cut the Douglas lead to 4-3.
Wooster’s bid to tie the score was denied in the fifth when Douglas catcher Matt Saylo scrambled to retrieve a pitch that went to the backstop and threw a strike to Muren covering the plate for the third out.
The Colts weren’t to be denied in the sixth. Charlie Geffert stroked a single up the middle with one out, then advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Walker got aboard on a walk and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Regan’s single to left scored Geffert with the tying run, then Toto’s fly ball to right field dropped in for a two-run single, giving the Colts a
Douglas got one run back in the bottom half of the inning, and was threatening to do more damage.
Marc Walling reached on an infield hit to the right side, and even though he was apparently thrown out at second on an overthrow, he was awarded the base on the umpire’s ruling that the ball had gone out of play, a call that was disputed by Malcomb, who was subsequently ejected.
Next, Lewis reached on an infield hit and Hoyle lined a two-out single up the middle to score Walling. Silva, a junior right-hander, came on to pitch and even though Saylo reached on another infield hit that loaded the bases, the Colts ended the rally on a ground ball to Millsap at second base.
Wooster added one more run in the seventh when Millsap doubled, stole third and scored on a throwing error on the play.
Andrews walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh for Douglas, but Silva retired the next three batters, the last coming on Austin Graham’s chopper over the middle that Wooster shortstop Zach Bryson fielded and got the force at second.
Lewis hit 3-for-3 to lead the Tigers offensively, plus he came up with a sparkling defensive play in the fifth when he fielded a bunt and threw an off balance strike to first for the out.