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3A STATE BASEBALL: Defending champion Boulder City moves into state final unbeaten

Boulder City baseball coach Bobby Reese has said all season that his team doesn’t possess any individual heroes.

It’s something he doesn’t mind, as his players all have taken turns at some point.

On Friday, it was junior outfielder Anthony Pacifico.

Pacifico hit the go-ahead, two-run double with two outs that sparked a five-run sixth inning, and Boulder City held on for a 10-8 win over Spring Creek in the winners’ bracket final of the Class 3A state tournament at Faith Lutheran.

“At that point, I’m just trying to put some runs on the board,” Pacifico said. “I’m not thinking for myself. I’m thinking for my team. We’ve always been good with two outs. A couple months ago, I think we were playing Mojave, we scored over 10 runs with two outs. So we’re really confident there.”

Boulder City (22-15) will face Spring Creek (28-9) — the Northern Region champion — in the state final at 10 a.m. Saturday at Faith Lutheran. The Spartans must win twice to knock off the defending state champions.

“It was just a battle,” Reese said. “It’s a grind. You get this far, and you’re not going to play anybody that’s not good. We didn’t expect it to be easy. It wasn’t easy. We just had some clutch hits there in the sixth inning and that gave us some separation. … We’ve set ourselves up for the best possible spot we could be in. We’ve just got to win one more game.”

After Spring Creek tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Boulder City rallied in the top of the sixth. Sean Jones and Rhett Armstrong led off the inning with strikeouts, but Teddy Lobkowicz and Kodey Rahr each drew a two-out walk to set up Pacifico.

Pacifico lined the first pitch he saw over the head of Spring Creek left fielder Jason Painter to bring in a pair of runs.

“If I see a pitcher throwing strikes first pitch, if I go up there, I’m thinking first-pitch strike,” Pacifico said. “Fastball. And I’m going to take it.”

The Eagles added three more runs in the inning — two coming from RBI singles by D.J. Reese and Nolan Herr — to take a commanding 10-5 lead.

“That’s a lot of clutch hitting,” Reese said. “That’s a testament to these kids. We haven’t had a hero all year, and right there, three, four kids step up. And boom, there you go. There’s your five runs. It was just enough. That’s a good team over there.”

Boulder City allowed three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Noah Higgins entered with the tying run at the plate. He got out of the jam on six pitches to earn the save.

“Didn’t put it away, obviously, but (the sixth inning) did give us a good lead,” Reese said. “We would’ve liked to save (Higgins). We tried to go with D.J. (Reese). He was throwing strikes, but they were on him. So, we thought, ‘Let’s get it over.’ Luckily, Higgins only threw six pitches.”

Pacifico finished 3-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases, and Higgins was 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Boulder City.

Painter was 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs and an RBI, and Shelden Wilkinson had a solo home run to lead Spring Creek.

Spring Creek 17, Moapa Valley 7 — Anthony Cornwall went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run in the Pirates’ six-inning loss to the Spartans in an elimination game.

Dayton Wolfley was 2-for-3 with a double, and Daxton Longman was 2-for-4 with a run for Moapa Valley (22-11), which surrendered 13 runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Spring Creek batted around twice and got runs from every starter in its 13-run inning. The Spartans took advantage of four hit batters, four errors and two walks from three pitchers to grab the big lead.

Wilkinson was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs for Spring Creek, which also got doubles from Jon Jund and Matt Ferreira.

Wilkinson’s double to left-center field with no outs in the sixth inning scored Ferreira, putting the 10-run rule into effect.

Moapa Valley 8, Elko 4 — Cornwall was 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs, and the Pirates scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie and defeat the Indians in an elimination game.

Daxton Longman was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, and Colby Longman went 1-for-2 with a two-run double for Moapa Valley, which led 2-0 after three innings.

Elko tied the game in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single by Kamren Backherms and sacrifice fly by Kaleb Martinez.

But the Pirates batted around in the bottom half of the inning and got a three-run homer from Cornwall to pull away.

Luke Bennett threw a six-hitter with eight strikeouts to earn the win for Moapa Valley.

Gavin Byington went 2-for-4 with a run to lead Elko (23-12).

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