SUNRISE BASEBALL: Basic jumps on Rancho early, wins second consecutive region title

It took 29 years for Basic’s baseball team to follow up on its 1987 state title last season.

On Saturday, the Wolves looked like a team mired in a drought and still looking to reach the mountain top.

Christian Sanford pitched a two-hitter, and Christian Rivero went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs as Basic stormed to an early 8-0 lead before routing Rancho 11-1 in five innings in the Class 4A Sunrise Region final at Las Vegas High.

Basic (26-7) advances to the state tournament that begins Thursday at Las Vegas High.

“We didn’t want to go to a second game, obviously,” Basic coach Scott Baker said. “Sanford pitched pretty well, and we got off to a really good start and got some runs early. That eased our tensions, for sure.”

For the second consecutive year, the Wolves won their region tournament by sweeping four games in five days. And in convincing fashion.

“It’s almost scary how close this is to last year,” said Rivero, a junior second baseman. “It gives me goosebumps just talking about it.”

Basic took advantage of a depleted Rancho pitching staff on Saturday, scoring two runs apiece in the first two innings and then breaking it open with a four-run third. The Wolves saw 83 pitches in the first three innings and drew four walks in the span.

“That’s a really good club over there, and if they end up winning (the play-in game) on Monday, they’re going to be a lot more dangerous than they were today,” Baker said. “They were a little depleted. They were resting guys. So we were in a very fortunate situation today.”

Trace Evans got things started in the first inning with a two-run double, and Rivero and John Howard Bobo each drove in a run in the second inning to put the Wolves up 4-0.

Basic benefitted from six Rancho errors, including one in the bottom of the fifth that scored the final two runs of the game and put the 10-run rule into effect.

“We came more prepared than the other team,” Rivero said. “We’ve been here in this situation before, and I feel like we were even keel all around. … We feel pretty confident as a team right now. We just have to do our jobs and execute.”

Sanford struck out six and walked two to earn the win. The 6-foot-4-inch righty threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 19 batters he faced and allowed just one extra-base hit.

“He did really well,” Baker said. “He used the fastball to get ahead, and the slider was his out pitch. He used his slider a lot with two strikes. We’re a fastball-pitching team anyway, so he did exactly what he wanted to do and found the zone.”

Angel Walker went 1-for-2 with a double and run to lead Rancho (24-8), which will face Centennial (25-10-1) in a state play-in game at 4 p.m. on Monday at Las Vegas High.

“We tried to play the best of our ability, but our guys were just beat,” Rancho coach Manny Llamas said. “They were just tired from the week. … We’re ready to go (in the play-in). We’re itching for it. Our guys are fired up.”