Vikings nearly hand Douglas first defeat
By Joey Crandall
Tribune News Service
MINDEN – For a couple of minutes it looked like the Douglas High baseball team’s 10-game win streak to open the season was in serious jeopardy.
Douglas pitcher Bryan Miller picked off South Tahoe’s Kyle Jones at first base with two runners on, abruptly ending a late Viking rally and cinching a 10-9 Sierra Division baseball victory for the Tigers on Thursday.
“I wasn’t even expecting it to end like that,” said Miller, who converted his first save opportunity of the year. “I love it, coming in like that. I just like coming in when the game is on the line.”
Douglas head coach John Glover brought Miller in to pitch from center field with two outs and two on in the top of the seventh inning. After throwing one pitch, Miller spun, threw to first baseman Brandon Huff, who tagged Jones to end the game.
“Bryan’s got a quick move and I wanted him to just take a look and see if he (Jones) was leading after that first pitch,” Glover said.
The call drew a strong reaction from South Tahoe as coaches spilled out of the dugout to argue the call.
“People get fooled. I think the umpire got fooled,” South Tahoe head coach Doug Russell said. “It’s consistent with the way some games are called with Tahoe.
“The kids played hard, Douglas played hard. It was a good ball game, and the umpires got to make the final decision.”
The Vikings put up three runs to open the final inning on a bases-loaded double by Randy Hensen.
“I think South Tahoe did a great job of battling us today. They never gave up,” Glover said.
The Tigers’ normally solid defense ran into real problems for the first time all season, committing five errors.
“We played absolutely horrible defense and that hurt today,” Glover said. “We had a letdown for the first time and Tahoe stepped up and battled us.
“That was something new for this club except for the Spanish Springs game (an 7-6 eight-inning win for the Tigers) and we didn’t handle the adversity well.”
Chris Honer picked up the win to improve to 3-0 on the year as Douglas ran its record to 11-0 overall, 4-0 in division. He struck out nine and walked three.
Hensen went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and two doubles and Jones went 3 for 4 with an RBI to lead the Vikings (2-11, 0-7).
Pitcher Peter Maes helped the Vikings rally from an 8-2 deficit by striking out five in 2 1/3 innings of relief. A.J. Russo accomplished a personal feat with his solo homer in the fourth. The 350-foot shot into the wind down the right-field line enabled Russo to homer in each of his division foes’ parks.
“After Truckee killed us 15-4 (Tuesday), losing to a 3A club, most teams would have given up on their season, but we stood up and played the way we can today,” Russo said.
Luke Rippee led the offense, going 4-for-4 with a triple, two stolen bases, an RBI and three runs scored.
Catcher Stormy Herald doubled and drove in two runs and Chad Walling added two RBIs.
STHS outfielder Marcus McKinnon injured his shoulder in the sixth inning and was removed from the game.
DOUGLAS 10, SOUTH TAHOE 9
S. Tahoe 001 122 3 — 9 8 2
Douglas 111 502 x — 10 11 5
Tinlin, Maes (4) and Russo. Honer, Estes (6), Brady (7), Miller (7) and Herald. WP: Honer (3-0). LP: Tinlin. SV: Miller (1). SO: Tinlin 1, Mays 5, Honer 9, Estes 2. BB: Tinlin 3, Mays 1, Honer 3, Estes 4.
South Tahoe Hitting: Jones 3-4, Russo 1-3, No 1 1-2, No. 10 1-4, Hensen 2-3. 2B: Hensen 2. HR: Russo 1. RBI: Janes 1, Dean 1, McKinnon 1, Russo 1, No. 17 1, Hensen 3.
Douglas hitting: Rippee 4-4, Walling 1-2, Miller 1-3, Honer 2-3, Pierce 2-3, Herald 1-2. 2B: Walling 1, Honer 1, Herald 1. 3B: Rippee 1. RBI: Rippee 1, Walling 2, Miller 1, Huff 1, Honer 1, Herald 2.
Records: Douglas 11-0, 4-0. South Tahoe 0-7, 2-11.