Chad Jones’ sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth inning allowed Dakota Greenawalt to score the go-ahead run, and push Faith Lutheran past visiting Chaparral, 2-1, in the Division I-A Southern Region Tournament.
The defending state champion Crusaders advanced to Saturday’s championship round. Chaparral will play at 4 p.m. Friday against either Mojave or Boulder City. Those teams play at 1 p.m. Friday.
The game turned into a pitchers’ duel between Chaparral’s Robert Ramirez and Faith Lutheran’s Erich Uelmen, and it looked as if it would come down to which team could come up with the big hit, or which team could capitalize on a miscue.
Fortunately for Uelmen, both happened on the same play.
With the game tied 1-1 with one on with one out in the bottom of the sixth, Uelmen launched a 1-0 fastball deep and high into the sun. Chaparral left-fielder Jose Ortiz lost track of the ball, which sailed over his head, allowing Greenawalt to move to third and Uelmen to waltz into second with a double. Two batters later, Jones stroked his game-winning sac fly.
“You hate to see that, they played so well,” Faith Lutheran coach Blair Neagle said. “They do all the little things right, they play defense, they pitch, they’re very well coached. So it’s nice to see a good high school baseball game like that.”
Uelmen led the Crusaders’ hitting attack for a second straight day, as he went 2-for 2 with a pair of doubles. He also pitched the complete game, yielding seven hits and striking out eight.
“Erich’s just a tremendous player; he worked real hard last week, he was kind of getting under the ball a little bit,” Neagle said. “So he’s seeing the ball a little bit better and he’s forcing his hands on top.”
Chaparral hit the ball well to start the game, getting six of its seven hits in the first three innings. The Cowboys stranded two in each of the first two innings, though, and scored its lone run in the third.
“Our offense didn’t come out as hot as we did yesterday, so I had to work a little bit harder on the mound,” Uelmen said “I was in and out of the dugout pretty quick so I got pretty tired, but I just battled through it. I made a little adjustment. I started throwing a two-seam fastball. I was jamming a lot of guys with that.”
Uelmen, who threw 91 pitches, retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced.
Ramirez threw a strong game for the Cowboys, scattering six hits in six innings, while throwing 78 pitches.
Mojave 9, Pahrump Valley 7 — The Rattlers rallied to score five runs with two outs in the fifth inning, then tacked on two more an inning later to seal the win.
After Mojave’s first two batters flew out to start its half of the fifth, Cory Tobin got the rally started with a single to right field. Tyson Goodrich and Chase Anderson walked to load the bases. A balk scored Tobin, and Otto Hernandez’s base hit to right-center scored Goodrich and Anderson. The Rattlers added two runs on errors.
Boulder City 4, Tech 1 — The Eagles used a pair of two-run innings to hold off the scrappy Roadrunners and stay alive in the postseason.
Eagles starter Peyton Koopman went the distance, scattering three hits and striking out three. The sophomore helped his own cause by going 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk and a run.