“They were better today. They put the ball in play and were a little more aggressive,” Reed baseball coach Ray Charles said. “Beyond the first inning, their pitcher threw strikes. They did a good job.”
Damonte got on the board first as Reed starting pitcher Mark Nowaczewski struggled with control.
Matt Gover opened the game by drawing a walk on four straight pitches. He moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt, went to third thanks to a wild pitch and scored on Nate Nolan’s soft liner that dropped into shallow right field for an RBI single.
Reed used a nice combination of small ball and long ball to take the lead back from Damonte in the bottom of the first.
RHS leadoff hitter Ryan Butler beat out a bobbled grounder at short to start the inning. Beau Tittensor pushed a bunt perfectly toward first base, forcing first baseman Patrick Wolfe to stray too far from the base to field the bunt and make it back for the out.
A.J. Silva sacrificed both runners up 90 feet and clean-up hitter Chuck Stroberg came through with a hard shot to left field, plating Butler. Tittensor was gunned down at the plate for the second out.
However, Reed wasn’t done. Troy O’Connor stepped up the plate and got the pitch he was looking for on a 3-1 count, driving the ball opposite field for a two-run homer and 3-1 Raiders edge.
That advantage was short-lived. The Mustangs posted a five spot on the scoreboard in the top of the second.
The first three batters of the second, the bottom of Damonte’s order, all reached base safely on a walk, infield single and another walk. They didn’t stay on the bases either.
Daniel Page came home on a sacrifice fly to right field. Patrick Wolfe rumbled home from second after Justin Bridgman singled and the ball was mishandled in left field. Nate Nolan plated Kyle Bailey with a single through the right side, putting the Mustangs back into the lead, 4-3.
The Mustangs’ third ground ball to find the hole through either the left or right side of the infield knocked in a fourth run in the inning. Olson picked up his second RBI of the game. Damonte went up 6-3 on an RBI fielder’s choice by Alec Hernandez that could have been an inning-ending double play had the ball at second been handled cleanly initially.
Considering a roaring wind was blowing out, it was no surprise more than one player went deep. Tanner Paris became the second Raider to clear the left-field fence when he belted out a solo shot on the first pitch he was from Mustangs pitcher Kyle Richards in the bottom of the second. That cut the deficit to 6-4.
Richards then recorded the second out of the inning, but loaded the bases with a single by Tittensor, sandwiched by two walks. Still, Richards got out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending groundout to short, protecting the two-run edge.
Damonte threatened again, saturating the sacks with one out in the top of the third. Reed went to its bullpen and reliever Chris Flores escaped with no damage. He wasn’t as lucky in the top of the fourth.
Olson’s one-out single got things going. Flores beaned Hernandez in the head, but looked like he regained composure by getting Cody Beattie to fly out to left.
Then, Page hit a screamer to right, driving in one run and Wolfe ripped a shot that rolled all the way to the right-field fence for a two-run double, extending the Mustangs’ lead to 9-4.
Damonte added one more run in the top of the seventh when Gover took third on a wild pitch and made it home when the throw sailed into the outfield. Gover led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second.
Reed got that run back in the bottom half of the inning, but couldn’t rally for any more. A.J. Silva made it to third on a three-base error and Stroberg knocked him home with a hard single past the shortstop for the final five-run margin. It was Stroberg‘s second run-scoring hit of the game.
The Mustangs out-hit the Raiders 14-8 and were led by Wolfe’s 3-for-3 performance. Olson and Bailey were both 2-for-2, while Nolan and Beattie each added a pair of hits. Nolan had two RBI.
Richards went five innings, allowing four runs — one earned — on seven hits. He struck out six and walked four.
O’Connor and Stroberg both went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Blue and Gold. Tittensor was also 2-for-4.
Reed (7-5, 3-4 in Northern 4A) will try to earn a series split when it heads to the southeast Reno school Thursday for a 3:45 p.m. matchup.
“We’re going to come out Thursday and try to even it up,” Charles said. “If we go 1-1, then we’re tied with them as far as league goes. That’s our goal just to try to square it up.”