Boulder City coach Bobby Reese said a little bit of luck never hurts, but the pitcher who tight-roped out of trouble it said it was by design.
Either way, Eagles pitcher Jacob Hubel worked himself out of two bases-loaded jams with double plays Thursday to help Boulder City’s baseball team beat Elko 6-2 in a Class 3A tournament at Faith Lutheran.
“I’m thinking it was by design, coming in with off-speed, trying to go for groundballs,” Hubel said. “I did what I was looking for and got the outs.”
Boulder City (21-5) will play Spring Creek (26-8) in the winners’ bracket final at 4 p.m. Friday at Faith Lutheran. Elko (23-11) plays Moapa Valley (21-10) at 1 p.m. The winner of that game faces the Boulder City-Spring Creek loser at 7 p.m.
With a 1-0 lead in the third, Hubel allowed the first four men to reach (one by fielder’s choice) to load the bases. He walked in a run, then rolled a 5-2-3 double play to get the Eagles back in the dugout.
Hubel retired the the next six batters he faced, including striking out the side in the fifth. Then in the sixth, he got himself into trouble again, allowing a single, double, single and single to knock in a run and load the bases with nobody out. He again got a double play, this time a tapper back to the mound that he tossed home to start the 1-2-3 twin-killing. He got the next batter to fly out to right.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” Reese said. “Obviously we don’t want to be in that situation all the time, but two big pitches and two big plays.”
In between double plays, the Eagles’ offense did its part. In the fourth, Anthony Pacifico led off the inning with a double, then advanced to third on a grounder. D.J. Reese came to the plate, and as the pitch came in and Reese squared to bunt, Pacifico broke for home. Reese placed his bunt perfectly down the first-base line, and reached on the play. Reese would come around to score to give Boulder City a 3-1 lead.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead and riding the momentum of Hubel’s second escape, Boulder City put its first five baserunners of the bottom of the sixth on base, punctuated by Rhett Armstrong’s two-run single to put the Eagles up by the final margin.
“We had some timely hitting,” Reese said. “Overall a very nice win, a nice start to the tournament.”
Sean Jones was 3-for-3 with two RBIs out of the No. 9 spot in the order for the Eagles, and Reese went 2-for-3 with two runs. Armstrong doubled, scored and a had two RBIs.
Alec Wall hit a double for Elko.
Spring Creek 3, Moapa Valley 2 — At Faith Lutheran, the Spartans scored in each of the final three innings to win in their last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh against the Pirates in the other semifinal.
Two singles and a wild pitch put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, and Matt Shanks knocked in the winning run to give the Spartans the walk-off victory.
The Pirates scored in the first and fifth innings to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth, before Spring Creek scored in the bottom half. The Spartans tied it the following inning on a bizarre sequence that saw Shanks reach base on an error, then get to second on wild pitch, take third when the catcher overthrew the bag, and score when the center fielder threw the ball into the dugout.
The Pirates made five errors, and only one of the three runs they surrendered was earned.
“We had a couple of key turnovers, errors, that just came back to bite us in the butt, and they capitalized on that,” Moapa Valley coach Ed McCann said. “You’ll see a different team (Friday).”
Drake Staheli doubled in a run for the Pirates in the fifth inning, the only extra-base hit of the day for either side. Moapa Valley’s Hunter Wininski went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base, and teammate Anthony Cornwall stole home in the first inning.
Spring Creek pitcher Matt Millis went the distance, struck out 10 and went 2-for-3 at the plate.