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4A BASEBALL: Manthei, Bishop Gorman move on in state tournament

Bishop Gorman’s Stephen Manthei couldn’t match teammate Jeff Malm’s 15-strikeout performance from Thursday. But the senior right-hander was plenty good on Friday, throwing five shutout innings to help the Gaels to an 8-0 victory over Douglas in the Class 4A state baseball tournament at the College of Southern Nevada.

Manthei allowed two hits and struck out eight without walking a batter.

“He was going right at them. He was throwing strikes,” Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “That’s obviously our key for success with our pitching staff. If we go at people and throw strikes, we think we’ll have some success, and he was in control from the first pitch on.”

Gorman (39-4), which has won the last three 4A titles, moved to 2-0 in the tournament and plays Cimarron-Memorial (33-6) at 10 a.m. today at CSN. Cimarron would have to beat Gorman twice to claim the title.

“It’s great to put ourselves in a position where we have to lose twice in one day, which will be really hard for a team to do,” Manthei said. “We’re just ready to come out tomorrow and play.”

Gorman staked Manthei to a three-run lead in the top of the first.

Joey Rickard led off with a double, and a single by Manthei and a walk to Malm loaded the bases.

One out later, sophomore Erik Van Meetren dropped a soft liner in front of the Douglas right fielder, scoring two runs. The next batter grounded out to first. Van Meetren broke for third, but Malm hadn’t budged, and first baseman Kameron Van Winkle had the duo hung up at third. But his throw was high, and Malm came home to score for a 3-0 lead.

“Any time you come out and get a couple runs in the first inning, it’s big,” Manthei said. “Your nerves kind of settle down a little bit, and the adrenaline’s still going.”

Manthei took over from there. He retired the first 10 batters he faced before Beau Davis hit a one-out single to right in the fourth. Manthei threw 74 pitches, 52 for strikes.

“That’s what I’ve been doing all year, throwing strikes and getting ahead of kids; not walking kids,” Manthei said. “Walks lead to big innings, and that’s something you can’t afford.”

Gorman had a pair of two-run innings in the third and fourth to stretch the lead to 7-0. R.J. Santigate had a two-run triple, and Van

Meetren hit another bloop double to score two more. Rickard added a solo homer in the top of the seventh. But the Gaels left nine runners on base, including the bases loaded in the sixth.

“We got a few breaks and got a couple big hits,” Sheff said. “I still think we should have executed better. Even though it was 8-0, I thought we had opportunities to really make it easier on ourselves.”

Santigate pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. Twenty-seven of the 45 outs Gorman has recorded in the tournament have been via strikeout.

“I think we’re always confident,” Sheff said. “That’s just part of being in this program. But we’re not overconfident by any means. We know we’re going to have to play good baseball for one more day.

“We like the spot we’re in. It’s the best spot to be in the tournament. But the best spot ultimately is to win the state championship. Until we do that, we’ve still got work to do.”

Cimarron-Memorial 10, Douglas 1 — Kaz Smith went 4-for-4 with three RBIs for the Spartans, who got their second consecutive strong pitching performance to advance to the championship round.

Smith had a double and an RBI single as part of an eight-run fifth for Cimarron, which bounced back after losing 9-5 to Douglas on Thursday.

“We gave (the win) to them, but we took the win back,” Smith said. “Now we just need two more. Two more and we’ve got it.”

Kris Kaplan was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for Cimarron.

The eight-run outburst was more than enough for senior Taylor Doyle, who allowed an unearned run on four hits in six innings. He struck out nine. That followed Kody Gorden’s five-hit shutout in the day’s first game.

“Last high school start, and he came out good just like Kody Gorden did today,” Smith said. “Two seniors stepping it up for us. That’s what we need.”

Now Cimarron’s 11 seniors hope to knock off Gorman twice to capture the state title. The Spartans beat Gorman 10-2 in the Sunset Region title game, ending Gorman’s 35-game win streak.

“At least we’re playing tomorrow,” Cimarron coach Mike Hubel said. “It’s a huge feat, but like I told the kids, it doesn’t matter what we do or how we do it, we’re going to play the game of baseball and let the chips fall where they may.”

Cimarron-Memorial 4, Green Valley 0 — The Spartans scored four runs in the first and held on to eliminate the Gators.
Gorden, who struck out three, was helped by four double plays.

Doyle had an RBI double, and Kaplan and Smith had RBI singles in the first.

Kaplan and Doyle each went 2-for-3 for Cimarron.

Brett Harrison was 2-for-3 for Green Valley.

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