Boulder City’s baseball team entered the Class 3A Southern League final Saturday anxious to return to the state tournament.
The Eagles didn’t leave the outcome in doubt for long.
Boulder City scored seven runs in the first inning on its way to an 11-0 victory in five innings over Virgin Valley in Overton to reach the 3A state playoffs for the first time since 2006.
“It’s special to get our school back in the tournament,” coach Bill Strachan said. “It’s a big thrill for our seniors because they helped everybody buy into the program and play the game as we try to teach it. It’s special to see it pay off.”
Boulder City junior right-hander Nate Hafen pitched a two-hitter and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
“It’s a big deal. This feels really good,” he said. “It’s nice especially for the juniors to see the seniors go who helped push us.”
Having ended Virgin Valley’s streak of three 3A state titles, Boulder City (16-11) opens the state tournament Thursday in Mesquite.
“It’s just unbelievable,” senior outfielder Jack LaMarca said. “This has been the most fun baseball experience I’ve had. These guys are awesome. It’s a young group of guys, and they’re going to be good for years after this.”
Corbett Fleming was 2-for-3 with three RBIs, including a two-run double in the big first inning.
LaMarca singled and scored in the first as the Eagles sent 11 batters to the plate.
“That says a lot about their mindset,” Strachan said. “To jump on them for seven runs was huge. A big goal of ours was to go right at them, because they can come back. We wanted to stick it to them early.”
Nick Morelli was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and Billy Barth was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Austin Gazlay doubled for second-seeded Virgin Valley (16-17), which looked tired after playing three games Friday to reach to the final.
“The last couple years, we’ve always been the Nos. 2 or 3 seed,” LaMarca said. “This is easier on the body and the arms, not having to play all those games. (Virgin Valley) played hard, but you could tell we were more fresh.”
Strachan was thrilled to see his seniors get to state, particularly LaMarca, who entered the regional batting .593 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs.
“We’ve always seemed to sneak a big (postseason) win against Virgin Valley and they always seemed to eliminate us,” Strachan said. “It’s a little extra special to end their reign, which was an impressive run. They’ve had some ball clubs the last three years, and now it’s our turn.”
Andrew Mathews went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Needles scored all of its runs in the first two innings en route to a 17-2, five-inning rout of The Meadows in the Class 2A Southern League final at Needles, Calif.
Matt McAndrews and Mason Cisneros each doubled and drove in three runs, and Devin Truscott had two RBIs for Needles (19-8).
Brandon Thomas hit a two-run home run in the top of the fifth for The Meadows (24-5-1).
Both teams advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at The Meadows.
Tyler Sparrow was 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBIs as host Pahranagat Valley stormed back from a 5-0 fourth-inning deficit to edge Beatty 8-7 in the Class 1A Southern Region championship game.
The Panthers (22-3) scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth and four in the fifth to take control.
Derek Hansen was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs for Pahranagat Valley.
Jose Moreno went 2-for-5 and scored twice, and Ivan Maldonado doubled, scored twice and knocked in two runs for Beatty (14-10).
Both teams advance to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Sunrise Mountain.