Las Vegas Cats third baseman Jacob Peters had trouble sleeping over the weekend, knowing his team was six outs away from the Connie Mack 18-under state championship. The No. 1 seed Cats took an 8-3 lead over the No. 2 seed Las Vegas Mustangs on Saturday night.
Then it poured — and he waited.
“I wanted to play the whole time,” Peters said.
Turns out the state title was well worth the wait.
The Cats clinched the championship Monday night at Faith Lutheran with a 9-8 victory over the Mustangs, who rallied in the top of the seventh inning until Peters ended the game with a third-to-first double play.
“These guys are my family,” Peters said. “We started off a little rocky at the beginning, but we came together at the end.”
Peters was almost certainly referencing his team’s 2-3 start, but the Cats jelled throughout the regular season and finished with a 12-4 record.
They won their first five playoff games to clinch a berth in the championship opposite the Mustangs, who were also 12-4 in the regular season.
But a downpour postponed the championship game with the Cats tantalizingly close to the title.
“It was a big disaster. Going home that night, you’re six outs away; you feel like you’re half a champion,” Cats coach Keoni Viernes said. “Coming back, you’re feeling like you don’t want to disappoint anybody, or let anyone down, and come back not a champion.”
The Cats tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning and nearly surrendered their lead an inning later.
But Peters snagged a ground ball, touched third base and fired a strike to first to end the game.
The players mobbed the mound.
The coaches smiled from the dugout.
“It was an awesome feeling,” Viernes said. “It was a complete weight off my shoulders, and off these kids’ shoulders, to finish that game off.”
Contact reporter Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.