The afternoon started off strong for the Raiders as junior pitcher Mark Nowaczewski took the bump and held Douglas scoreless through the first three innings. Unfortunately for the Reed faithful, the bats weren’t hot for the Blue and Gold as they were only able to generate one run in the bottom half of the first when A.J. Silva singled in Ryan Butler for the game’s opening score. The Raiders left the bases loaded to end the inning.
With the hosts still holding a 1-0 advantage, the game came unraveled in the top of the fourth frame.
Nowaczewski got the leadoff man to fly out to right field, but back-to-back hit batsmen followed by a Raiders error knotted the game at 1-1.
Douglas was just getting started as the floodgates opened from that point. A seeing-eye single loaded the bases before the Tigers took a 2-1 lead on an error by Reed first baseman Tanner Paris. The Raiders were unable to get a force out on the next ball in play, plating another run for Douglas. With three runners still on the basepaths, Douglas’s Dillon Lopez cleared the bases with a frozen rope to center that rolled to the fence after Silva missed a catch on a diving attempt, leaving the score at 7-1 and blowing the game wide open.
Reed senior pitcher Dylan Miller then came on in relief for Nowaczewski, inducing a pair of flyouts to end the bleeding of the fourth. Nowaczewski finished with five Ks.
The Tigers added three more runs in the top of the fifth to leave the scoreboard reading 10-1 before tallying their last run in the seventh, resulting in the 11-1 final.
“We just made too many errors,” Reed coach Ray Charles said. “In that fourth inning alone I think we made three errors. We gave up a seven spot in that inning and any time you give up a crooked number, it’s never a good thing. We just didn’t play good defense in that inning. That’s part of the game. Fortunately we moved on and played better our second game.”
Putting the miserable performance behind it, Reed battled back and forth with Carson in the second of its games.
Zeros remained on the scoreboard between the two heading into the bottom of the second inning when Reed junior Brett Chaney drove in Joey Dice on a fielder’s choice to put the Raiders up 1-0.
The Senators wasted little time striking back, getting to Reed pitcher Robbie Harris with three runs with their turn at bat in the third, taking the lead 3-1. In the bottom half of the inning, a double from Silva into the gap in right-center field pushed Paris and brought the deficit to 3-2.
Carson extended its advantage back to two runs on an infield single from Dion Copolous that plated Casey Wolfe for the 4-2 lead.
The Blue and Gold looked poised to retake the lead in the bottom of the fourth when its first three batters to the plate were hit by a pitch, loading the sacs and bringing on a pitching change. Carson’s new hurler Cole DuFresne was able to salvage the inning with just one run scored. Getting Chad Gray to hit into a line drive out that resulted in the runner being doubled up at first, DuFresne walked the next two batters and the solo run before Paris lined out to the shortstop. At the end of four, the Senators led 4-3.
The next five half innings saw just three hits as the pitching of DuFresne and Reed junior Chris Flores mowed down batters, leaving the score at 4-3 heading into the final three outs of the ballgame.
Raider Beau Tittensor led off the bottom of the seventh with a free pass to first, setting up the dramatic finish. A pitching change brought Tyler Vallay to the mound but the Senators could not prevent the Reed comeback.
A sac bunt from Paris moved Tittensor into scoring position before an RBI single from Silva tied up the game. Silva then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball before Dice crushed a ball deep off the center-field wall, sending Raider Nation home with a 5-4 victory.
“Any time you come back when you’re down and down to your last at-bat is a good win,” Charles said. “I thought we executed and did some good things that last inning. We got the big hit at the end but the extra hustle by A.J. and the leadoff walk, we needed all of that to get the winning run across. It was just good to comeback after we honestly didn’t play very well that first game.”
Flores went the final 3 2-2 innings for the Raiders, striking out four, earning the win. Charles said he was pleased with the performance from Flores.
“He came in solid. He did a good job. I thought Robbie threw well too, but he just got a little tired and then we brought Chris in and he made the outs that he needed,” Charles said. “That’s kind of what we expect with him, to come in and throw strikes. You’re not going to strikeout a lot of guys but you get a lot of fly balls. We’re excited about that.”
Reed (2-1) plays Spanish Springs today at 12:30 p.m. before it faces off with Fallon at 3:30 p.m.