Hoping for one win, the North Douglas baseball team got two.
In a three-game series with second-ranked Umpqua Valley Christian (13-2 SD4, 20-3) last week, it was the North Douglas (11-4, 17-6) pitchers guiding the team to a pair of wins that have moved the Warriors into the top-10 in the rankings.
“When the week started, I know we were really excited about having a chance to beat UVC at home. Thought that was our best chance and then we found a way to put things together in game one,” said North Douglas head coach Jeff Davis.
After coming up empty with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning, the Warriors found their way onto the scoreboard in the third inning with three runs. Senior Koldan Frieze’s grounder through the infield scored a pair of runs. The hit was followed up by a double from junior Tanner Parks that scored Frieze.
“It was good for our confidence that they did not score in the first. And then we came right back and answered. Sometimes in your mind you have to say, ‘We can play with these guys,’” said Davis.
Picking up another run in the fourth, North Douglas’ offense was then helped by the team’s pitching. UVC, one of the highest-scoring teams in the 2A/1A classification, struggled to get hits off North Douglas’ one-two punch of Brian Erickson or Colter Anderson.
“Most the year they’ve been really good. Brian has, sometimes reluctantly, become that number one. And we talked yesterday at practice about which guy we would like to start today and Brian said, ‘Eh, maybe I feel more comfortable closing,’” said Davis. “But if you look at our scores, and albeit, some of our opponents were weak, but even against the better teams, we’ve not allowed a lot of runs.”
In the sixth inning, the Monarchs came up with two of their five hits on the game as they put together three runs. But the team, and specifically the pitchers, just kept plugging away.
“I was just knowing that I don’t need to be nervous up there. Just got to focus and not let it get to me knowing that they’re a good hitting team,” said Anderson. “We never got down ourselves if they did get a big hit. And we just kept going with it, just fought the whole battle.”
While North Douglas was able to close out the game, the bigger win for the team came from the amount of pitchers their aces threw. Because of pitch count rules, if a pitcher throws over 60 pitches then they have to rest for three days. Erickson threw 60 and Anderson 61 and with a pitch count exception for Anderson, both pitchers were able to go again in the first game of the day on Friday.
In addition to their pitchers, the team got help from their bats as they scored four runs in the top of the seventh inning to squeak out a 6-5 win.
In game two of the day, UVC flexed their offensive power as they put together a 14-1 win.
With three games left in the regular season, the Warriors are second in league. This week the team has a three-game series against Elkton (3-12, 5-12).