The best closers at any level can pitch in high-pressure situations.
Sierra Vista’s Blair Goldsack proved to be up to the task Wednesday.
The junior right-hander struck out two with the bases loaded to end a sixth-inning rally and fanned two with a runner in scoring position in the seventh as the Mountain Lions (27-6) held on for a 9-7 win over Legacy (22-9) in the Sunset Region tournament at Centennial.
“I think he feels about as comfortable as you can feel with guys on base in big situations,” Sierra Vista coach Nate Selby said. “He doesn’t shy away from it. We wish we wouldn’t get ourselves in that spot, but if you get in that spot, it’s better to get out of it than not.”
The Mountain Lions play Bishop Gorman at 4 p.m. today at Centennial with the winner advancing to the tournament’s championship game Saturday. Legacy faces Arbor View in an elimination game at 1 p.m. at Sierra Vista.
Sierra Vista looked to be in pretty good shape after scoring three runs in the top of the sixth to take a 9-2 lead. But starter Dusty Stevens hit three batters and gave up a two-run double before giving way to Goldsack.
Goldsack gave up a two-run single to Andres Ortiz, then walked Donald Glover and hit Joey Lauria with the bases loaded to force in a run and make it 9-7.
But Goldsack struck out Adam Thompson and Tyler Thurston to end the inning.
Goldsack gave up a one-out double to Zach Monticelli in the seventh but struck out Dylan Baumgarte and Pierce Skinner to end the game.
Sierra Vista expected to start Jake Hager today’s game, but he left the game with an injured middle finger on his throwing hand after the top of the first against Legacy, and his status is unknown.
Hager also plays a big role as the Mountain Lions’ leadoff hitter and shortstop.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed,” Selby said. “You feel bad for the kid. He’s obviously been a guy who’s done a lot to put is in the spot where we’re at. We’ll have to have some other guys step up if he can’t go.”
The two players who replaced Hager on Wednesday both had solid games. Sophomore Tyler Condie took Hager’s spot in the lineup and went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Armando Perez moved from right field to shortstop and went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs.
“For a kid that basically hasn’t done anything but stand in the dugout, he did a nice job,” Selby said of Condie, who spent most of the season on the junior varsity. “And the Perez kid that’s played right field and hasn’t hit much for us came in and played shortstop and got a couple hits.
“That’s what you’re hoping you get is some guys stepping up. You get the opportunity and make the most of it.”
Scotty Tomassetti was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for Sierra Vista.
Donald Glover was 2-for-2 with a double, a triple and an RBI and Baumgarte drove in two runs for Legacy.
Bishop Gorman 15, Bonanza 5 — At Centennial, the Gaels (31-3) used a pair of big innings to knock the Bengals into the losers’ bracket.
After Bonanza (17-13) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-run homer by Kris Bryant, the Gaels responded by batting around and scoring six runs to take the lead for good.
“Bryant hit the home run in the first inning and they kind of said ‘Hey, we’re here,’” Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “And then we bounced back with six in the first and kind of made a statement, too.
“One of the things we talk about all the time is being able to answer other clubs when they score. We were able to do it today and make a statement that they were going to have a tough time with us, too.”
Neil Lawhorn, Johnny Sewald, T.J. White, Cory Welch and Kenny Meimerstorf each had two hits for Gorman.
Lawhorn had three RBIs, Sewald scored four runs, and Johnny Field drove in four runs for the Gaels.
Mario Franzese was 2-for-3 for Bonanza, which plays Spring Valley in an elimination game at 4 p.m. today at Sierra Vista.
Spring Valley 9, Palo Verde 5 — At Sierra Vista, sophomores Robby Brewster and Jose Rosales-Rodarte combined on a six-hitter as the Grizzlies (16-10-1) eliminated the Panthers (16-15).
Brewster cruised through six innings, allowing one run on two hits, before running into trouble in the seventh inning.
With his team trailing 9-1, Palo Verde’s Zac Benson led off the seventh inning with a sharp single to left field. A hit batter and a walk then loaded the bases for No. 9 hitter Zak Porter.
Porter belted a grand slam to left-center field to cut the lead to 9-5 and chase Brewster.
“I just thought he was getting a little tired there,” Spring Valley coach Paul Bassett said. “Robby had done his job in keeping our lead, then it was time to hand the ball to somebody else.”
Rosales-Rodarte gave up a single and a double before getting Dan Jaffe to pop out to shortstop Drew LaComb for the game’s final out.
Spring Valley used a wild pitch, an RBI double by Cameron Cole and an RBI single by Johnny Hernandez to jump to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The Grizzlies added four runs in the fourth inning as Jacob Schwartz and Aaron Blair each drove in two runs with a single to make it 7-0.
Schwartz was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Hernandez went 4-for-4 with two runs scored, and Blair added two hits and two RBIs for Spring Valley.
Billy Bob Ward had two doubles and an RBI and Dillon Meyer was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored for Palo Verde.
Arbor View 8, Centennial 5 — At Sierra Vista, the Aggies (21-10) rallied for four runs in the bottom of the sixth to come from behind and eliminate the Bulldogs (17-17).
Zach Quintana had a two-run double with one out in the sixth to give Arbor View a 6-5 lead, and the Aggies tacked on two insurance runs.
Centennial had tied the game in the top of the fifth on a two-out RBI single by Blane Bevilacqua.
Quintana doubled twice, and winning pitcher Buddy Borden also homered.