With his team facing elimination Tuesday, Las Vegas Cats baseball coach Aldo Mora spent the afternoon trying to keep his players relaxed and focused.
By the time they took the field, the Cats looked more focused than relaxed, but that proved to be enough.
Right-hander Diego Delgado tossed a four-hitter and the Cats cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Las Vegas Mustangs in the Connie Mack state baseball tournament at CSN. They will face either the Las Vegas Crusaders or the Summerlin Panthers in another elimination game at 2 p.m. Thursday.
“We just tried to keep them loose and keep their minds on what was ahead while focusing on being competitive,” Mora said. “We knew we had to get guys on base to give us an opportunity to score.”
The plan got off to a slow start, as the Mustangs’ Nick Erickson belted a home run to lead off the second inning, putting the Cats in a 1-0 hole.
But the Cats answered with two outs in the bottom of the inning, getting clutch RBI singles from Jason Herrera and Ryan Freimuth to go ahead 3-1.
Delgado took over from there, allowing just three hits the rest of the way. He finished with six strikeouts while walking two.
“Diego went out there and competed, as always,” Mora said. “He threw strikes and allowed us to play defense. When he’s focused, he’s our go-to guy.”
The Cats missed an opportunity to blow the game open in the third inning after putting runners at second and third with one out. Austin Strong grounded into a fielder’s choice, and a baserunning blunder resulted in a double play to end the threat.
“It’s all a learning experience,” Mora said. “Hopefully that doesn’t happen again, and if it does, we’ll know what to do.”
The Cats managed to put an insurance run on the board in the fifth when Delgado bounced a single up the middle for an RBI.
Ryan Freimuth and brother Nate Freimuth each had two hits to bolster the Cats’ 11-hit attack.
Las Vegas Grizzlies 6, Las Vegas Bengals 1 — Bryce Bullock provided all the pitching and most of the offense to lead the Grizzlies to a victory over the Bengals in the late elimination game.
The right-hander struck out eight while holding the Bengals to six hits. He also went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
The Grizzlies took control early, scoring on a wild pitch and a single by Bullock to go ahead 2-0 in the first.
Bullock added to the advantage with a two-run home run in the fifth to make it 4-0, and he prevented the Bengals from mounting a serious threat the rest of the way, aside from an unearned run in the seventh inning.
Jonathan Bakken went 2-for-3 with an RBI to help the Grizzlies, and teammate Jaxson Otis went 2-for-4.
Jay DeSoto and Torren Brozovich each had two hits to lead the Bengals.
The Grizzlies will face either the Green Valley Elite or the Southern Nevada Falcons in an elimination game at 5 p.m. Thursday.