After six innings Thursday, senior Erick Villarreal was dangerously close to losing not only his shot at a complete game, but letting a Chaparral win slip through his fingers.
“He was out. When I started walking to the mound he was out,” Chaparral head coach Dave Soto said of his visit to the mound in the seventh inning. “He’s a senior and he convinced me. He said there’s no way he was coming out.”
Villareal settled down with two runners on and the tying run on first base to get the strikeout and clinch a 6-4 victory for Chaparral’s baseball team on the road over Boulder City.
“He actually told me after the game that he dreamed about that situation,” Soto said. “And I told him first you have to dream it, you have to see it, and then you do it.”
The starter fanned seven batters and allowed just two earned runs in a game that was dominated by small ball from both teams with the wind blowing in from the outfield.
Senior Connor Jarvis led Chaparral (11-4, 2-1 Class 3A Sunrise League) with a 1-for-2 day at the plate and a pair of runs for the Cowboys.
“Normally we play small ball anyway, whether the wind is blowing in or out,” Soto said. “We’re not big. We have to execute and do things right but the wind today definitely made you play small ball. That was the only way to score because the ball was not travelling at all.”
Chaparral’s big inning came in the fifth when four runs crossed the plate. With the bases loaded, Boulder City walked in a run and hit another to chase starter junior D.J. Reese from the game. Two more runs would cross for the Cowboys in the inning.
The Cowboys held Boulder City (8-7, 1-2 Class 3A Sunrise League) hitless until the fourth inning when senior Jacob Hubel lined a single into the outfield.
“(Villareal) threw well,” Soto said. “He made a mistake on a fielding error on a ball back to the pitcher that would have made it less difficult, but he threw well today.”
Despite getting the potential winning run to the plate in the final inning, the Eagles struggled to get much offense going in key situations of the game. Reese tried to help his own cause by driving in an RBI in the third inning, but it wasn’t enough for Boulder City.
“Not only was this a win over a conference opponent, but it’s Boulder City,” Soto said. “Boulder City has been one of the best in our division for many, many years. Coming here and beating them in their house is huge. That’s one of our biggest victories, in the six years I’ve been at Chaparral, for regular season games it’s one of the best.”
Contact reporter Bill Slane at email@example.com or 702-380-4559. Follow @bill_slane on Twitter.