Centennial pitcher Kristopher Bow is young, but if there’s one thing he knows about playing for the Bulldogs: you come ready to play Northwest League rival Arbor View, whether it’s the high school season or American Legion.
The junior-to-be was more than ready Sunday night, scattering six hits and allowing just two runs over six innings, to lead the Bulldogs to a 6-4 win over the A’s in the opening round of the American Legion state baseball tournament at UNLV.
“There’s definitely pressure playing at UNLV, coaches are watching, it’s a huge game, probably the best game of the year,” said Bow, who struck out three and improved to 8-1 on the year. “We’ve always had a rivalry since I don’t even know when. It’s always nice to beat (Arbor View) in the first game and put ‘em away and set a tone for sure.”
The Bulldogs (24-11) were led at the plate by Isaiah Salas, Zackary Simon and Garrett Holden, all of whom had two hits apiece. Bow helped his cause with a pair of RBIs, while Miles Brown threw three innings of relief to earn the save.
“The most important game of a tournament is Game 1,” Centennial coach Pat Casale said. “You win that first game it sets a tone for your pitching staff, and the attitude of the whole team. It’s that simple.”
Centennial jumped all over Arbor View starter Jaxon Sproul in the bottom of the first inning. Salas and Nathan Martin opened the inning with consecutive walks, and a single by Simon loaded the bases to set the table.
Holden, Bow and Jaden Dudek each drove in a run, and the Bulldogs scored once more on a wild pitch to grab a 4-1 lead.
“The first inning, that was our approach,” Casale said. “The second inning we let them off the hook. That was a six-pitch or seven-pitch inning tops. Our guys should have been better hitters, or had better approach. We could have knocked their socks off by the third inning — that was our mistake. But other than that, we wanted to come out early and often.”
After the A’s cut the lead to 4-2 in the third inning, the Bulldogs scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to extend the lead to 6-2. Bow continued to neutralize Arbor View’s hitters, retiring 16 of the final 21 batters he faced.
“I have to focus and settle down a little bit, because the first inning I’m usually a little bit out of sync,” Bow said. “Once I get through the game I start to get in sync and start throwing more strikes and command my fastball a little bit more. As the game went on I got a little bit better, but I definitely had to get out there and lead my team.”
The A’s (10-11-1) were led on offense by Niles Scafati, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Sproul (0-2) took the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks over seven innings.
Las Vegas Aces 10, Las Vegas Patriots 2 — Chaison Miklich led a 14-hit attack, going 4-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs, while Brett Brocoff was 3-for-4 with an inside-the-park home run, three runs and three RBIs to lead the second-seeded Aces past the Patriots.
Starting pitcher Israel Gutierrez improved to 5-1 after allowing just two runs — one earned — over four innings. He struck out four for the Aces (31-8).
For the Patriots (18-17), Logan Coons was 4-for-5, while Dawson Beard finished 3-for-4 with a run scored. Jordan Moreno (3-3) took the loss after allowing four runs — three earned — on eight hits and three walks in six frames.