The Las Vegas Cats made their way through the Connie Mack regular season on the strength of pitching and defense.
Through the first two days of the state tournament, nothing has changed.
Brandon Smith fired a one-hitter to lead the Cats to a 10-0 victory over the Las Vegas Mustangs on Thursday night at Faith Lutheran. With the win, the Cats advance to Saturday’s title game.
The Mustangs face the Southern Nevada Falcons in an elimination game at 7:30 p.m on Friday.
On Wednesday the Cats were no-hit by the Falcons but escaped with a 1-0 win behind a one-hitter by Leonel Anaya. On Thursday, the Cats also found their offense.
Trevor Johnson went 2-for-3 with a run and three RBIs, and Anaya was 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs and a run to lead the Cats, who used a 12-hit attack to win the game on a mercy rule in six innings.
“We try to play great defense behind our great defense,” Cats coach Keoni Viernes said. “We get whatever runs we can get. We don’t score too many runs, but when we get them, we try to get them a lot.”
The Cats jumped on Mustangs starter Brady Joyner, scoring two in the first and another in the second.
It was all Smith would need, as he used a three-pitch arsenal to stifle the Mustangs’ lineup. He retired 15 of the first 17 batters and never let a baserunner past second base. Smith, who no-hit the Mustangs on Saturday during pool play portion, struck out nine.
“I’ve pitched against them for like three years now, it’s most of the same kids, so I know how to pitch against most of them,” Smith said. “Every time I pitch against them I usually dominate. We played as a team today and I think if we play as a team on Saturday we’re going to win no doubt.”
Southern Nevada Falcons 7, Summerlin Panthers 2 — Jake Perales went 2-for-4 with a double and a run, and Ethan Yatson was 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Falcons, who used a five-run fifth inning to pull away for the win.
Starter Ryan Nickel, who retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced, tossed a complete game to earn the win. He scattered four hits over seven innings and struck out five.
Jackson Slade and Nick Calleo collected the only runs for the Panthers.
Connie Mack State Tournament
At Faith Lutheran
LV Mustangs 12, Summerlin Panthers 6
LV Cats 1, SN Falcons 0
SN Falcons 7, Summerlin Panthers 2
LV Cats 10, LV Mustangs 0
Game 5 — SN Falcons vs. LV Mustangs, 7:30 p.m.
Game 6 — LV Cats vs. Winner Game 5, 6 p.m.
Game 7 — LV Cats vs. Winner Game 5, if necessary, 8:30 p.m.