Yerington junior Daniel Sciarani had thrown 111 pitches, his defense had committed five errors and his team was down to its final at-bat in the opening round of the Division III state baseball tournament at The Meadows on Thursday.
None of that mattered, though.
Sciarani stroked Lincoln County senior Derek Shumway’s 2-and-1 breaking ball over the left-field fence for a two-run homer in the top of the seventh, and Yerington went on to a 7-6 win to advance to Friday’s semifinal.
The Lions (21-10) will face Incline, an 11-1 winner over Needles, at 1 p.m. at The Meadows.
“I missed the previous pitch. I really wanted that one,” said Sciarani, who went 2-for-4 with a triple, homer and three RBIs. “That last pitch, he hung that curveball and I just sat back on it and crushed it like I was taught.”
Yerington coach Vince Angle said he had no concerns with Sciarani’s pitch count, as he’s been durable throughout the season. Sciarani, who finished with 122 pitches, was tagged for nine hits, walked three and struck out two in seven innings of work.
“He’s just that kid who will let me know,” Angle said. “He’s made it through every game he’s pitched in this year, so pitch counts aren’t a concern for Dan at this point in the year.”
What were a concern were the multitude of errors that were piling up on Angle’s troops, who allowed five unearned runs. After Yerington’s Austin Schlegelmich put the Lions ahead 1-0 with a second-inning home run, the Lynx (20-7) got on the board in the bottom of the second with two runs on two hits and two errors.
The Lions tied the game in the top of the third, but Lincoln County took advantage of two more errors in the bottom half of the inning to move ahead 5-2.
“We do a lot of mental conditioning with our team, a lot of mental training,” Angle said. “We know that baseball is 90 percent mental, and so we talked a lot about that stuff today. We talk about the next play and not worry much about the last play.”
Meanwhile, Lincoln County suffered from its own miscues.
Yerington struck back in the bottom of the fourth when Walker Ow-Wing crushed a leadoff homer to close the gap to 5-3. Then, Austin Camarena reached on an error and Schlegelmich followed with a walk. Back-to-back errors over the next two at-bats brought both home to tie the game.
Lincoln County grabbed a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Ow-Wing’s error at first base allowed Nick Vincent to score.
The Lynx were led by Vincent and Cody Thornock, who both went 3-for-4. Vincent had two runs scored.
Lincoln County starter Derek Shumway lasted 6 1/3 innings, gave up all seven runs (four earned), scattered seven hits and struck out six.
Incline 11, Needles 1 — At The Meadows, the Highlanders (20-6) scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie and routed the Mustangs in five innings in the first round.
Owen Graffis and Tommy Thompson each had two hits in the fourth as Incline sent 13 batters to plate. Thompson was 4-for-4 with a double, one run scored and two RBIs, while Graffis finished 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.
Cole Steinberg went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Winning pitcher Jack Clouthier tossed five innings of four-hit ball, allowing an unearned run and striking out seven.
Needles (15-16), which meets Lincoln County in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Friday at The Meadows, got hits from Trenton Poe-Evans, Kobee McCorkle, Benny Robinson and Reid Shaer.
William Dunn took the loss after giving up eight runs (five earned) over 3-2/3 innings.