Faith Lutheran senior Alex Barnes fondly remembers winning the Class 3A state baseball title in 2007, and now he wants his younger teammates to join the club.
“These guys need to get to feel how it is to win a ring,” said Barnes, one of three seniors on the team. “Calling yourself a state champ is something special.”
The Crusaders (15-20) will have that chance Saturday when they host defending state champion Virgin Valley (27-8) at 10 a.m. in the final round of the double-elimination state tournament. If Virgin Valley wins, the teams will play a winner-take-all finale.
Barnes pitched six solid innings to lead Faith Lutheran to a 2-1 victory over Virgin Valley in the second round Friday at Faith Lutheran.
Virgin Valley then earned a trip to the final with a 10-9 victory over Spring Creek in eight innings.
“They worked hard for this and they’ve put themselves in the right position,” Faith Lutheran coach Tony Girod said. “You want to be the team that can split and win a state championship (today).”
Barnes allowed one run on three hits and six walks with six strikeouts. Terry Unruh struck out three of the four batters he faced in the seventh to earn the save.
Unruh and Michael Kinkenon had two hits each for the Crusaders. Jason Wittwer and Jonathan Gleave had two hits apiece for the Bulldogs.
Virgin Valley 10, Spring Creek 9 — Virgin Valley won in the bottom of the eighth by scoring two runs on a throwing error.
Wittwer and Terran Leavitt had two hits each for Virgin Valley.
Spring Creek (27-8-1) appeared to have taken a 10-7 lead in the top of the inning when Shane Irvin belted a three-run home run to left, but the hit was ruled a two-run triple and Irvin was called out after making contact with celebrating teammates before touching home plate.
Boulder City softball coach Bruce Reid said his players “take it personally” when teams score against them.
One run by Faith Lutheran was all it took to bring the Eagles’ bats to life Friday.
After Maya Barnes’ single scored Brittany Hampton to give the Crusaders a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Boulder City answered with four runs in the bottom.
The Eagles held on for a 4-1 victory to reach today’s final round of the Class 3A state tournament at Faith Lutheran.
“When (Faith Lutheran) scored that run, that was a wake-up call,” Reid said. “They don’t like to be scored upon. They really don’t.”
Taylor McKeever put the Eagles (32-3) ahead with a two-run single with two outs, and Ariel O’Neill followed with a two-run triple.
While pleased to reach the final, McKeever said the Eagles need to get off to a better start Saturday. They will play for their first state title since 1999 at noon against the winner of the 10 a.m. game between Faith Lutheran and Fernley.
“We just talked about how that was too close for comfort and our bats needed to wake up a little earlier,” McKeever said.
McKeever, O’Neill and Britty Patt had two hits each for Boulder City.
Michele Beatty was 2-for-3 to lead Faith Lutheran (17-17).
Faith Lutheran 4, Fernley 3 — Fernley (29-5) put the potential tying run on third base with two outs in the seventh, but Kellie Kersey struck out the final batter.
Barnes went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs for the Crusaders.
Boulder City 4, Spring Creek 1 — Karlee Koopman pitched a one-hitter with five strikeouts to carry the Eagles past the Spartans (20-16).