Faith Lutheran’s Brandon Johnson and Brandon Davis combined to throw a five-inning no-hitter Wednesday afternoon, as the Crusaders rolled past visiting Boulder City, 16-0, in the second round of the Division I-A Southern Region Tournament.
The defending state champs used a 10-run second inning to essentially put the game away early, while Johnson carved out yet another stellar performance for the Crusaders in a rematch of last season’s Division I-A state title game.
The 6-foot-4-inch, Kansas-bound senior fired three scoreless innings. Johnson, who struck out six, used 40 pitches and allowed only four base runners.
The Crusaders gave Johnson all the support he’d need with their big second inning, which was highlighted by Erich Uelmen’s double and triple in consecutive at-bats in the same frame.
“We have a little history with them so we like to jump out early and get the momentum on our side,” Uelmen said. “Lately I’ve been struggling, I’ve been getting under some stuff, so I tried to stay on top of the ball. I took more pitches and waited until I got a good one.”
After Boulder City’s Austin Shepard walked Dakota Greenawalt to start the bottom half of the second, the Crusaders began their onslaught, as Cameron Sepede drove Greenawalt home with a triple to the fence, then came home on Uelmen’s double. Three consecutive base hits, a fielder’s choice and two wild pitches resulted in four more runs before the Crusaders went halfway through their lineup a second time and plated another four. After walking the first batter he faced, Eagles reliever Zach Murphy was able to stop the bleeding by striking out Justin Daraban to end the inning.
The Crusaders (25-6) added four runs in the third inning, and another two in the fourth. Uelmen finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Greenawalt was walked three times and scored three runs.
Davis pitched the final two innings, retiring six of the eight batters he faced, including three strikeouts.
Faith Lutheran coach Blair Neagle said he could have left Johnson on the hill, but with the game well in hand and three days left in the tournament, he opted to preserve his ace.
“We wanted to save some innings,” Neagle said. “We’ve been blessed all year, we’re about four of five (pitchers) deep and they all do a pretty good job. Our pitching coach is outstanding. We have a lot of confidence in all of them. When it comes to setting up the rotation we’re very fortunate.”
Faith Lutheran will host the rest of the tournament after high winds damaged the backstop at Mojave.
“It’s not ideal to tell you the truth, it’s a little bit of work and it’s kind of last minute,” Neagle said. “But that’s what baseball is, we’ve got to make some adjustments. The perception is that we wanted to host it, but we just wanted to play the game wherever it is; if it’s here, great.”
Faith Lutheran plays Chaparral (23-9) at 4 p.m. Thursday in the winner’s bracket final. Boulder City (19-7-2) plays Tech (15-10) in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Thursday.
Chaparral 7, Pahrump Valley 6 — At Chaparral, Vicente Hernandez’s infield single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning plated Matt Ellison with the winning run as the Cowboys nipped the Trojans in the other winners’ bracket semifinal.
Ellison was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the ninth. He moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a groundout before Hernandez collected the winning hit for Chaparral, which led 6-1 after two innings.
Tommy Crone went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs, and Luis Giro was 2-for-3 with a two-run single for Chaparral.
Dylan Ault was 3-for-5 and smacked a three-run home run for Pahrump, which scored five runs in the seventh inning and tied the game at 6-6 on Carlos Garcia’s two-out single. Richard Greene was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run and two RBIs for the Trojans (21-9-1), who play Mojave (17-15) in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Tech 5, Cheyenne 2 — At Cheyenne, Elias Peinado was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs, and winning pitcher Sebastian Fitzgerald tossed a five-hitter with five strikeouts and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs as the Roadrunners eliminated the Desert Shields.
Abel Martinez had an RBI double and scored twice for Tech.
David Rose went 2-for-3 for Cheyenne (9-15).
Mojave 3, Moapa Valley 2 — At Overton, Ryan Lawrence scored on a balk in the bottom of the fourth to break a 2-2 tie and allow the Rattlers to eliminate the Pirates.
Chase Anderson walked to start the inning, went to third on a double by Lawrence, and scored the tying run on a wild pitch.
Lawrence threw a four-hitter to get the win. He struck out three, walked four and hit two batters.
Jared Repp went the distance, throwing a four-hitter, for Moapa Valley. He also doubled for the Pirates (10-14).