OVERTON — Moapa Valley baseball coach Ed McCann doesn’t hide the fact that he loves making his players run the bases in practices and during games.
“We run and we run and we run,” he said.
McCann believes adding pressure to an opponent’s catcher and defense will eventually result in miscues, especially at the high school level. His philosophy proved true Wednesday afternoon.
The Pirates converted seven of nine stolen-base attempts and took advantage of five errors to pull away for a 12-4 home win over Mojave in the Class 3A Southern Region semifinals.
Moapa Valley (20-7) will face Boulder City (17-14) — the defending state champions — in the winners’ bracket final at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
“Our baserunning has been really solid all year long,” McCann said. “We run the bases and read balls in the dirt. We got a couple stolen bases today because of balls in the dirt. Then you get a base hit behind that, an error and everybody moves up 90 extra feet. That’s been our bread and butter all year long.”
On Wednesday, Moapa Valley turned to its aggressive baserunning in the bottom of the fifth to break a 3-3 tie. The Pirates stole four bases in the inning, including one of home plate by Dayton Wolfley, and went on to score nine runs to grab a 12-3 lead.
Anthony Cornwall attempted to end the game due to the 10-run rule by rounding third base on a single by Daxton Longman but was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Rease McClain for the inning’s final out.
“I’ve run us out of a lot of innings, but we’re aggressive and that’s been our philosophy all year long,” McCann said. “We’re going to run, and if they throw us out, we’re going to run again. Our guys understand that. I don’t say a thing when we’re aggressive.”
Moapa Valley parlayed three hits, two hit batsmen, four walks and three errors into its nine-run fifth. The Pirates saw 44 pitches from three pitchers and went ahead for good on a two-run single to left field by Wolfley.
“We’re patient and they believe in the system we run,” McCann said. “That’s the difference. … All year long, we’ve been strong in the fifth, sixth, seventh innings. We score more runs (then) because we’re just getting warmed up. It starts in practice. Our guys are accustomed to grinding it out on the field for four hours.”
Jade Marshall and Colby Longman combined to throw a five-hitter for the Pirates. Marshall struck out five over four innings, and Longman gave up just one hit over three innings to earn his fifth save of the season.
Daxton Longman was 3-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, and Cornwall went 2-for-2 with two runs and three RBIs.
After Mojave took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Cornwall launched a solo home run off the left-field scoreboard on a 2-and-0-pitch in the bottom half of the inning to tie it up. The senior catcher also had a sacrifice fly in the second inning to even the game at 2-2.
“He’s just a special kid,” McCann said of Cornwall. “Great team leader for us.”
Scott Wilson went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, and Andrew Foley was 2-for-3 with a run for Mojave (14-14-1), which plays at Pahrump Valley (20-12-1) in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Boulder City 11, Virgin Valley 1 — At Boulder City, Kodey Rahr and Anthony Pacifico each had a pair of RBIs as the Eagles routed the Bulldogs in six innings in a winners’ bracket semifinal.
Rahr and D.J. Reese each went 2-for-3 for Boulder City. Jacob Hubel allowed just three hits over five innings to earn the win and also hit a double for the Eagles, who led 5-1 after two innings.
Cade Anderson doubled for Virgin Valley (14-14), which will travel to Chaparral (20-10-1) for an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Pahrump Valley 8, Desert Pines 5 — At Pahrump, Josh Ferrer pitched five innings to earn the win, and Cyle Havel converted a save opportunity as the Trojans topped the Jaguars in an elimination game.
Havel pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the sixth inning for Pahrump Valley. Nico Velazquez had a two-run single, and Garrett Lucas supplied an RBI double for the Trojans, who led 8-3 after four innings.
Daniel Mendez and Juan Castaneda each had two hits to pace Desert Pines (9-19-1).
Chaparral 9, Sunrise Mountain 2 — At Chaparral, Connor Jarvis went 2-for-4 with three runs and an RBI as the Cowboys downed the Miners in an elimination game.
Talon Greene was 2-for-4 with two runs, and James Cobian was 1-for-3 with a double for the Cowboys.
James Cobian struck out four and allowed five hits over four innings to earn the win, and Antonio Vara picked up the save after throwing three innings of relief.
Roderick Williams was 2-for-3 for Sunrise Mountain (5-19).