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3A STATE: Morelli sets Eagles soaring

Senior shortstop Nick Morelli has been a sparkplug for Boulder City’s baseball team all season.

It was no different for the leadoff man Thursday when the Eagles opened the Class 3A state tournament with a bang.

Morelli went 3-for-4 with a home run, five RBIs and three runs to propel Boulder City to a 20-3 romp in five innings over Truckee in a first-round game at Mesquite.

“That’s typical of Nick,” Eagles coach Bill Strachan said. “He knows how to be a leadoff hitter and get us going. If it’s a bonus and he hits it 350 feet, that’s great. He makes plays to keep us in it.”

Boulder City (17-11) won its 11th game straight to advance to the semifinals against Churchill County (23-10) at 1 p.m. today. The finals of the four-team, double-elimination tournament are Saturday.

Morelli blasted a three-run homer over the left-field fence with one out in the second inning to give the Eagles a 4-2 lead, and then they made it a runaway.

Nate Hafen followed with a three-run shot to right-center as part of the eight-run inning in which Boulder City sent 13 batters to the plate.

“We came out a little slow, but then we started hitting the ball, and everything went from there,” Morelli said. “Once we get the bats going, everything goes from there.”

The Eagles tacked on three runs in the third and turned the game into a laugher in the fourth, scoring nine runs while sending 14 batters to the plate.

Even a 20-minute rain delay in the middle of the third didn’t cool Boulder City’s offense.

“I didn’t expect that,” Strachan said of the 20-run output. “But we hit the ball real well. Our kids stayed focused.”

Boulder City left-hander Jack LaMarca pitched a four-hitter with one walk, two hit batters and nine strikeouts. The senior also went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs.

In addition to his three-run shot, Hafen scored twice more. Tanner Howell and Billy Barth each supplied two hits as part of Boulder City’s 15-hit attack.

James DePew tripled and scored for Truckee (17-13), which plays Lowry (19-9) in an elimination game at 10 a.m. today.

Churchill County 1, Lowry 0 — John Boyle doubled to right-center with two outs in the top of the sixth to score Alonzo Williams and lift the Greenwave past the Buckaroos in the first round.
Williams pitched a two-hitter with eight strikeouts and no walks for Churchill County.

Lowry’s Bryan Noble reached base on a throwing error with one out in the bottom of the seventh and stole second, but was tagged out after his foot left the bag. Williams then struck out Dusty Kraft looking to end the game.

Noble pitched a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts and three walks.

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