Moapa Valley baseball coach Ed McCann was eloquent on the Pirates’ postseason performance before 2017.
“They hadn’t won a playoff game in a long time,” he said. “Since Moby Dick was a minnow.”
The Pirates now have won three straight playoff games, including a 6-4 home victory over Boulder City on Thursday, sending them to the Class 3A Southern Region championship game.
“It’s exciting to see the kids believe in the system,” McCann said. “They’ve worked hard and they grind.”
Aggressive baserunning started the scoring for the Pirates (21-7). Anthony Cornwall and Daxton Longman reached base after being hit by a pitch in the first inning with two outs. Cornwall proceeded to swipe third.
With runners on the corners, the Pirates sent Longman to take second, but he got caught between the bases, and Cornwall bolted for home plate. The throw went home where Cornwall slid under the tag and everyone was safe to put Moapa Valley up early.
“We’re aggressive on the bases,” McCann said. “I get thrown out and I’ll run us out of more innings but they’ll still run. That’s what it’s about, putting pressure on them.”
Moapa Valley was able to grind out another run in the second, but the offense broke open in the fourth inning. Drake Staheli, Cornwall and Daxton Longman each drove in runs with singles in the inning.
“They were really focused and they made good adjustments at the plate, two-strike adjustments,” McCann said. “They were really good at going with the pitch and that’s really important.”
After starter Luke Bennett began to have some problems locating his pitches to start the sixth inning, McCann decided to go with his closer to get the six-out save.
Colby Longman, a sophomore, took to the mound to set down the Eagles (17-15) in order in the sixth.
“He’s been doing it for us all year long,” McCann said. “He broke a school record for saves. He doesn’t throw hard, he just gets it done.”
Boulder City got the go-ahead run to the plate after a pair of two-out singles in the seventh, but a fly ball out center ended the game.
“You got to go with the one who took you to the dance,” McCann said after leaving his sophomore closer in the game in a jam.
Chaparral (21-10-1) will play Pahrump Valley (21-12-1) at 1 p.m. at Tech, with the winner playing Boulder City in the losers’ bracket final at 4 p.m.
Moapa Valley will not play until the championship at noon Saturday at Tech.
“Oh amen,” McCann said of the off day. “Our arms are worn out. So it’s going to be a good day.”
Chaparral 4, Virgin Valley 3 — At Chaparral, Connor Jarvis, Robert O’Connor and Rodney Elosegui all singled and scored with two outs in a three-run fifth inning that allowed the Cowboys to eliminate the Bulldogs.
Chaparral trailed 2-1 before Jarvis started the fifth-inning rally with a two-out single to center. The Cowboys also benefitted from an error and a wild pitch to allow the runs to score. Virgin Valley pulled to within 4-3 on a Chaparral error in the sixth inning, but stranded the possible tying run in scoring position
Chaparral’s James Cobian struck out two in a perfect seventh inning to collect the save.
Jarvis was 2-for-3 for Chaparral, which had just six hits.
Easton Jensen was 2-for-4 for Virgin Valley (14-15).
Pahrump Valley 12, Mojave 2 — At Pahrump, Garrett Lucas was 4-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs, and Drew Walker went 4-for-4 with an RBI and four runs to help power the Trojans to a win over the Rattlers in six innings.
Willie Lucas added two RBIs and Nico Velazquez supplied two RBIs for Pahrump Valley, which got the win on the bump from Bradda Costa.
Andrew Foley had a hit and a run for Mojave (14-15-1).