Grieving Douglas leads WC|[4/3/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 4, 2005

Playing with a heavy heart, Warren Central’s Eric Douglas had a day that would’ve made his dearly departed grandmother Mary Pat Middleton very proud.

Douglas had a home run, five total hits, and a pitching win during Saturday’s games at Viking Field.

Douglas’ relief performance against Clinton helped salvage a split for coach Randy Broome’s team, which lost early to Northwest Rankin 7-5 but came back to beat the Arrows 5-4.

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“She’ll be a real loss for me and she was on my mind, the entire day,” said Douglas, who attended his grandmother’s funeral at 10 a.m. but made it back in time to suit up for the 1 p.m. start against Northwest Rankin.

He finished with a three-hit game against Northwest Rankin and then had a two-run triple and a solo home run to key the Vikings in the Clinton contest.

“That home run (in the fifth), I did for her,” Douglas said.

“If I could have them all show up like Eric Douglas does every day, we’d be something,” Broome said of the junior outfielder and pitcher. “He attended his grandmother’s funeral at 10 this morning and was back ready to play. He got thrown out at third base against Northwest which was a big play in that game, but he comes back and finishes with five hits for the two ball games,” Broome said.

Douglas came to the mound in the sixth after Clinton had rallied from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game at 4-4. With the go-ahead run on second, he got Reed Prewitt to ground into a force at third base. He then struck out Corey Stevens, sending the game to the bottom of the sixth still tied.

“I just wanted to throw strikes and let our defense make plays. The ground ball was a big out,” Douglas said.

The Vikings (12-8) regained the lead by producing a two-out run in their half of the sixth. Following a walk to Ben Koestler, Zach Balthrop punched a defensive swing into shallow right that fell for a double. It was enough to send courtesy runner Jonathan Ettinger home for the 5-4 lead.

Douglas came back in the seventh, getting two straight foul pop outs, then ended the game by coaxing a fly out to left by Rocky Gant.

“We’ve talked about believing in ourselves and winning the big ones, but it starts with focus,” Broome said of the Vikings.

Shane Bennett took the loss for Clinton (17-6).

Douglas’ two-run triple gave WC a 2-1 lead in the third. They made it 3-1 when Nick Carson doubled in Will Mendrop, who also reached on a double. Douglas added his solo home run in the fifth.

Clinton got a solo home run from Alan Harris to start the top of the sixth. Derrick Pardue and Matt Jordan both had two hits and knocked in a run.

NW Rankin 7, WC 5

The Vikings trailed 7-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning but scored three times to make it close.

Douglas had three hits in the game to lead the Vikings. Josh Gordon had a two-run home run to erase an early 2-0 Northwest Rankin lead.

Northwest Rankin (23-2) got three hits, including a solo home run from Tyler Moore. Kenny Tackett also had a solo home run.

Ben Wylie got the win for the Cougars while Drew Warnock took the loss for the Vikings.

St. Andrew’s 8, St. Al 3

Ryno Martin-Nez went 4-for-4 with an RBI, and Blake Tidwell was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, but St. Andrew’s overcame an early 3-0 deficit to beat St. Aloysius (9-6).

Tidwell’s two-run double in the first and Martin-Nez’s RBI single in the fourth put St. Al ahead 3-0. St. Andrew’s then tied it with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, and took the lead for good with a five-run outburst in the fifth.

St. Al will try to avenge the loss when it hosts St. Andrew’s at 5 p.m. Tuesday. St. Al will also play Pelahatchie at 7 p.m. at Bazinsky Field.