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AMERICAN LEGION: Strong relief outing helps Silverado oust Cougars

There’s something to be said about moving from catcher to pitcher in the middle of a game.

While it can be tough on the knees for some, there’s also an advantage of knowing exactly what spots the plate umpire is favoring.

So after seeing his team squander an 8-3 lead and fall behind 9-8 on Wednesday night at UNLV, Silverado manager Brian Whitaker moved James McCarty from behind the plate to the mound, and the right-hander took it from there.

McCarty pitched the final five innings and held the Cougars to just one run on six hits and four walks, while Silverado (16-13) held on for a 12-10 victory in an elimination game of the American Legion state baseball tournament.

“James has been pitching good for us all year,” Whitaker said. “It’s kind of weird being a pitcher-catcher combo. I was really worried about his legs and that’s why we only threw him three innings the first day, thinking that we may have to do this at some point. He has an effective wildness to him. He got some deep counts, but would come back and get them. In that situation, I wasn’t going to make a move, he’s the guy we wanted out there.”

Sparked by the hot bat of Dax Fellows, who has hit safely in all three tournament games and is 6-for-14 (.429) in the postseason, the Skyhawks opened a 6-2 lead after two innings. Fellows led off both innings with singles, eventually scoring both times. Coronado’s offense responded in the bottom of the fourth with six runs, highlighted by Jake McLean’s two-run home run, to take its one-run lead.

Silverado opened the sixth by loading the bases on an error and two walks. Aidan Trammell’s single brought in Tyler Paasche, before Fellows cleared the bases with a double to the left-field corner.

“Once you get to the losers’ bracket this can happen, and the pitching gets thinner,” Whitaker said. “It’s almost an expectation the scores are going to be high and the games are going to go long. The heat, everybody’s dragging, and everything just seems to slow down. But no one was going to give up. When they scored that six, I wasn’t surprised, those guys can swing the bat, and they were going to take every chance they could to come back and beat us. That big double by Dax helped a ton.”

McCarty pitched out of bases-loaded jams in the seventh and ninth innings.

“I knew we weren’t getting the low, outside call,” McCarty said. “Low and inside we were getting, and I knew I could work up and jam a few guys and get their hitters that way. I fell behind in a few counts, but eventually ground balls and pop outs were what won the game. If you keep the ball low and you throw strikes, even good hitters — and Coronado has a lot of good hitters — even good hitters aren’t going to barrel up too many balls.”

Fellows went 3-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs to lead the Skyhawks offensively, and Hubbard was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs.

Ryan Kiernan went 4-for-6 with two runs and two RBIs, and McLean was 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs to lead the Cougars (18-16).

Las Vegas Bulldogs 11, Las Vegas Patriots 6 — Zackary Simon went 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and one RBI to lead the Bulldogs (25-12) over the Patriots in an elimination game.

Nikolaus Dobar was 2-for-3 with a double and three runs for the Bulldogs, who face the Las Vegas Aces at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The Silverado Hawks face the Southern Nevada Blue Sox at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Relief pitcher Trevor Wright got the win after firing six hitless innings, allowing no runs and walking on. Wright struck out seven.

Luis Reyes was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs for Liberty (19-18).

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