Small schools: Rhett Armstrong’s bat, Joey Giunta’s arm help Eagles soar

Pahrump Valley had rallied from a seven-run deficit Friday to win its way into Saturday’s championship game of the Class 3A Southern Region baseball tournament against Boulder City.

But the Eagles’ used a hard-hitting senior and a focused freshman relief pitcher to ensure the Trojans wouldn’t stage another comeback in the title game.

Senior Rhett Armstrong went 3-for-3 with three doubles and two RBIs, and freshman Joey Giunta came on in relief in the first inning and gave up only one run to lead host Boulder City to an 8-2 win and the tournament title.

Armstrong, who drove in the Eagles’ first run with an RBI double that sparked a three-run rally in the first, admitted his team was keenly aware of the Trojans’ reputation.

“We wanted to get out early, stay on top and keep them down,” said Armstrong. “We didn’t want to get them any life and let them crawl back in the game.”

Boulder City (21-11-1) started Chaseton Wagstaff on the mound, but made a pitching change after just four batters, including two walks and an RBI single by Pahrump’s Garret Lucas.

Freshman Joey Giunta came on in relief, quelled the rally, and went on to secure the win, scattering five hits and giving up one earned run in 4⅔ innings of relief.

“I just wanted to go in and throw strikes really,” said Giunta. “Just go in and help us win the game.”

It helped that Armstrong kept going to the plate and smacking doubles.

“We went to the cages yesterday and worked out a few kinks in my swing,” said Armstrong. “And I just really felt good today and felt confident.”

Armstrong then took the mound in relief in top of the sixth, and limited Pahrump (19-15-1) in what looked like a potential comeback.

The Trojans had runners on first and third with one out before Armstrong induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The Eagles added three runs in the botoom of the sixth. Armstrong had an RBI double, and Giunta followed with a two-run double of his own to stretch the lead to 8-2.

“We wanted to get some insurance there, because we know this team has been known for battling back,” said Armstrong. “So, we just wanted to jump out, get some runs and finish it.”

Both teams will now head to Reno for the state tournament, which begins Thursday. Armstrong said he feels good about the Eagles’ chances of winning their third straight state title.

“We are playing nice, hitting well,” said Armstrong. “We are confident, not cocky.”

Class 2A

Lincoln County 9, Lake Mead 5 — At Needles, California, Kamden Lewis’ had an RBI double in the fifth inning to break a 3-3 tie and belted a sixth-inning grand slam to lead the Lynx past the Eagles in the championship game of the Class 2A Southern League tournament.

Lewis doubled to left with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, plating Dean Ottley to break a 3-3 tie. He scored on McKinley O’Connor’s single to center to give Lincoln County a 5-3 lead going to the sixth.

Lewis then hit a grand slam to left field with two outs in the bottom of the sixth to increase the lead to 9-3.

Lewis finished 2-for-4 with two runs and five RBI, and O’Connor was 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Lynx (23-6), who won their fifth straight league tournament championship.

Dominic Desch was 2-for-3 and scored twice for Lake Mead (17-7).

Both teams will compete in the Class 2A state tournament, which begins Thursday in Sparks.

Class 1A

Indian Springs 14, Pahranagat Valley 4 — At Alamo, the Thunderbirds raced to a six-inning win over the Panthers to capture the Class 1A Southern Region title.

Indian Springs (15-4) and Pahranagat (18-6) both advance to the Class 1A state tournament, which begins Thursday at North Valleys.

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