Southern Nevada Blue Sox catcher Roger Riley was honored as player of the year before Saturday’s championship game of the American Legion state baseball tournament at UNLV.
Shortly after, Riley scored what turned out to be the game-winning run as the top-seeded Blue Sox (48-7) knocked off the defending champion Las Vegas Aces 7-1.
Riley raced home with the Blue Sox’s second run in the first inning — and that’s all starting pitcher Trevor Berg needed.
Berg (3-0) pitched a complete game, scattering five hits and striking out nine. The right-hander retired 24 of the last 28 batters he faced and was named the tournament’s most outstanding pitcher.
“We were left with a bitter taste in our mouth from last year, and we wanted to show we’re able to hang with those guys,” said Riley, whose Blue Sox lost to the Aces in last year’s championship. “We just wanted to play our baseball and play our game, and tonight we were able to do that all around — play defense, pitch and hit — and it was a great game.”
Trailing 1-0, the Blue Sox — comprised of players from two-time defending state high school champion Basic — responded by loading the bases with their first three batters. John Bobo walked and Riley and Ryne Nelson each singled. Jesse Fontaboa’s sacrifice fly scored Bobo, and Garrett Giles drove in Riley with a single.
Then Berg took control, throwing strikes on 87 of his 119 pitches.
“I was really motivated to come out and pitch strong for coach (Scott) Baker and everything he’s done for me,” said Berg, whose tournament ERA was 1.72 with 17 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings. “Getting snapped off last year was extra fire for this game and extra motivation to come out here and pitch a good game.”
Giles led the Blue Sox, going 2 for 2 with one RBI and a run scored. Bobo, Riley and Nelson each had two hits and a run scored.
Giles was selected as the tournament’s most outstanding player. He was 9 for 16 (.563) with one double, six runs and seven RBIs.
Chaison Miklich was 2 for 4 with a home run for the Aces (26-14) from Desert Oasis.