With two outs, no one on base and down by three runs Friday night, it appeared the season was over for the Las Vegas Mustangs at the Connie Mack state baseball tournament.
However, the Mustangs had other ideas.
The seventh-seeded Mustangs rallied with three runs in the seventh inning and added three more in the ninth to stun the No. 6 Desert Hills Thunder 12-9 at the College of Southern Nevada.
The win, which took 3 hours, 35 minutes, sets up a meeting with the top-ranked Southern Nevada Bengals in the state final at 10 a.m. Saturday. Should the Mustangs win, a second game will follow.
On Friday night, the hero was 16-year-old Ashton Canigila. Seldom used during the summer, Caniglia delivered a two-run single as part of the Mustangs’ three-run seventh, then drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth and was credited with the extra-inning win.
“I’ve never been in a game like this since Little League,” said Canigila, who will be a sophomore in the fall. “We just kept playing, regardless of the situation. I just wanted to be in the game to help my team win.”
The game had a bit of everything, including a seven-minute delay due to one of the light standards shutting down.
It also had five triples by the Thunder — two each from Landon Levine and Brandon Andros — and one by Trey Allred. In the second inning, the Mustangs’ Brandon Tressler hit the tournament’s first home run, a two-run shot.
Still, the night belonged to one of the smallest players on the field. Canigila finished with three hits, three RBIs, two runs scored and a win on the mound, helping the Mustangs extend their season at least one more day.
After the Mustangs tied the game in the seventh, the Thunder had a golden opportunity in the bottom half of the inning with two runners on and no outs. But after a sacrifice bunt, Caniglia struck out Lance Kinross and Jaxton Reber to end the threat.
In the ninth, the Mustangs sent eight men to the plate to pull out the win.
Kadyn McDonald drove in four runs for the Mustang offense, which pounded out 12 hits against three Thunder pitchers.
Las Vegas Mustangs 7, Southern Nevada Falcons 4 — Tyler Black had two hits, drove in a pair of runs and scored an important insurance run late as the seventh-seeded Mustangs eliminated the No. 5 Falcons.
The Falcons had nine hits, all singles. Four straight singles in the second — by Ben Gonzalez, Andrew Hauck, Eric Vaccaro and Gage Streit — produced two runs and gave them a brief 2-1 lead.
But the Mustangs answered with a run in the third inning, and three more in the fourth, and never looked back. Trent McGregor scored two runs for the Mustangs, and had the lone extra-base hit in the game, a double to start the contest.