Incline baseball | Highlanders take big early lead, hold off Warriors at Aces Ballpark
RENO, Nev. — The Warriors did not want to go home early Wednesday evening. And who could blame them?
In a Mount Rose League baseball game held in the finely manicured confounds of Aces Ballpark — home of the Triple-A Reno Aces — Incline was three outs away from cementing a win after five innings on the 10-run mercy rule when Whittell showed signs of life.
Trailing 12-2, the Warriors rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend the contest. They then struck for three more in the sixth to pull to within four runs, 12-8.
But Incline sophomore Tommy Dolan smashed a triple off the center field wall 410 feet from home plate in the seventh and scored on a wild pitch, and the Highlanders held on for the 13-8 win.
“We just started out slow,” said Whittell coach Thomas Hunter, who lamented his team’s several errors that led to runs. “But we swung the bats.”
In the end Incline out-slugged Whittell 14 hits to nine, with Dolan leading the way with a 5-for-5 game with his triple and two RBIs, and starting pitcher Cam Powell going 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
It was all Incline to start. After a scoreless first inning, the Highlanders scored six runs in the second on five hits and two walks off starter Cody Gibson. The Warriors committed a couple of errors that helped fuel the rally.
Whittell got on the board in the bottom of the second with an RBI single off the bat of Gibson, but Incline added another run in the third on an RBI double by Kenny Savelieff and another in the fourth on an error to take an 8-1 lead.
Sophomore catcher Tommy Thompson tripled down the third baseline to drive in two runs in the fifth, and Powell and Dolan added RBIs as the Highlanders extended their lead to 12-2.
But the Warriors refused to go down quietly. Jacob Sharp drew a walk off of reliever Jack Clouthier to lead off the bottom of the fifth and Avery Laub followed with a single. Two batters later, Alex Barnes hit a shallow fly ball to center that scored Sharp from third. A wild pitch scored another run, and Matt Elliott drove in one more to adjust the score to 12-5.
Barnes came through again for Whittell in the sixth when he cleared the bases with a three-run double down the first baseline, bringing the score to 12-8. Robbie Poet singled and reached second on an error in the seventh, but he was left stranded to end the game.
Gibson went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI for the Warriors, while Poet also went 3-for 5, and Elliott, Laub and Barnes contributed a hit apiece. Barnes had four RBIs.
Aside from Dolan and Powell, Masxsimo Battel had two hits, and Clouthier, Thompson and Savelieff each had one. Dolan hit he ball harder than anyone on the day, particularly in the seventh when he almost cleared the wall in center field.
“I was just seeing it out of the hand really well,” Dolan said, adding that the green hitters’ backdrop served him well.
Dolan wasn’t the only one to enjoy the Aces Ballpark experience.
“It’s a great experience for the kids,” said Incline coach Jeff Clouthier. “Obviously it’s the nicest field they’ve gotten to play on. It’s a thrill for the kids. And getting the win was huge too.”
The Highlanders are scheduled to host a doubleheader against Whittell on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. They end the regular season with a home game against North Tahoe on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
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