With history in mind, Lake Mead baseball coach Doug Johnson warned his players to expect a wild game against Indian Springs on Friday.
By the time the two teams had combined for 28 runs, 27 hits, nine errors, one ejected player and an ejected fan in a three-hour game, Johnson wore an “I told you so” grin on his face.
Of course, that might have had something to do with the fact that his team had just defeated the Thunderbirds 18-10 in the second round of the Class 1A state baseball tournament at Arbor View.
The win lifted the Eagles into today’s 1 p.m. championship game and dropped Indian Springs into the losers’ bracket, where the Thunderbirds later were eliminated by Carlin.
“We really didn’t expect a pitchers’ duel,” said Johnson, whose squad outlasted Indian Springs for a 20-19 victory in last week’s regional tournament. “But we jumped on them early. We got the lead, and we kept the lead.”
Indeed, Lake Mead responded to the Thunderbirds’ two-run first by erupting for five runs in the bottom of the inning. The Eagles opened with three consecutive hits and capped the inning with an RBI triple by Drew Erickson.
Indian Springs fought back, grabbing a brief lead by taking advantage of three walks and three hits for five runs in the fourth inning to go ahead 9-7. That was shortly before things really got out of hand.
Midway through the Eagles’ eight-run fourth inning, a call was disputed at the plate. Thunderbirds catcher Nick Vandever, the team’s top player, was tossed after arguing with an umpire. Fans got involved from the stands, and the game was held up for more than 10 minutes.
With a 15-10 lead and Vandever stationed in the parking lot, Lake Mead seized momentum and cruised to victory.
“From top to bottom, we hit the ball well,” said Johnson, who declined to comment on the fourth-inning ruckus, other than to point out that he did not get involved.
Johnson instead elected to focus on the fact that his team was glad to get out of the sun while Indian Springs and Carlin played a subsequent losers’ bracket game to determine the tournament’s other finalist.
“Fatigue will be important (in the championship), especially for the pitchers,” the coach said. “This (win) allowed us to get out of the heat. We haven’t even used a couple of our pitchers yet.”
Josh Bratton went 3-for-4 with a double to lead Lake Mead.
Carlin 6, Indian Springs 4 — With Vandever out of service, the Thunderbirds blew several key opportunities on the way to a loss to the Muckers.
Patrick McClean went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI to lead Indian Springs.
If Pahranagat Valley is to claim its third straight Class 1A title, the Panthers will have to do it the hard way.
Carlin’s Sam Salisbury tossed a one-hitter in the winners’ bracket final at Majestic Park as the Railroaders (19-8-1) advanced to the title game with a 2-1 win over the Panthers.
Pahranagat Valley (20-9-1) rebounded for a 15-1 win over Wells (16-14-1) in the losers’ bracket final and will meet Carlin at 10 a.m. today. Pahranagat Valley must beat Carlin twice today to claim the title.
Against Carlin, Mary Higbee’s sixth-inning single was the lone Panthers hit.
Carlin scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Pahranagat Valley scratched out a run in the seventh but came up short.
Against Wells, Molly Hansen went 3-for-4 with a double and a run, and the Panthers scored seven runs in the first inning on their way to a run-rule victory.
Higbee was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run, and Roxie Lasike and Jamey Brede each hit two doubles.
Wells 14, Lake Mead 13 — Margaret Wright’s two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning allowed Wells to eliminate Lake Mead (14-18-1).
Sam Herman and Mallory Baker each went 2-for-5 for Lake Mead. Janae Willis was 2-for-4. The Eagles scored four runs in the top of the seventh to extend the game and took the lead in the top of the eighth before Wright’s game-winning hit.