The top-seeded Las Vegas Aces wanted to make a statement in the American Legion state tournament.
Saturday night they opened the event at UNLV’s Wilson Stadium doing just that, with a 15-1 win over the eighth-seeded Las Vegas Longhorns.
The Aces will face the Southern Nevada Blue Sox on Sunday at 8 pm, in a battle of the last two state champions.
After falling behind 1-0, the Aces scored seven in the bottom half of the first inning, sparked by a two-run home run by Chasion Miklich, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs and four RBIs.
Aaron Roberts also had a big night at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double, home run, two runs and four RBIs.
The Blue Sox dethroned the Aces with a 7-1 victory in last year’s title game, and Roberts said they haven’t forgotten about it.
“Honestly, this is the only thing on our team’s mind at the moment,” Roberts said. “After last year, we’ve been waiting for this. The whole year we didn’t get a chance to play them in the spring, so we had to wait until right now. It all matters tomorrow. The biggest game is for us tomorrow, so we’re gonna come out just like we did tonight with the same energy and look to do the same thing.”
Jason Sharman went 2-for-2 with three runs and an RBI for the Aces, and his brother, Josh, got the victory for the Aces after settling into a groove with his fastball, change-up and cutter to fire two innings of hitless ball and striking out two.
“We went in confident that we were going to win, but still playing hard no matter what,” Josh Sharman said. “Very zeroed in, very focused, wanting to win as much as ever. Whenever we got up by 10 we still kept putting on runs.”
The Longhorns managed just three hits on and their lone run was unearned.
Coronado 8, Liberty 6 — The seventh-seeded Cougars got two runs on a throwing error in the top of the 10th inning, then held off No. 2 seed Liberty for the upset win.
Max Fernandez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and Thomas Planellas picked up the win after giving up just one hit and no runs over three innings.
Caden Toki-Camat was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and one run for Liberty.
Centennial 2, Reno 1 — Anthony Martinez’s RBI single brought home Austin Krysczcuk for the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth.
Krysczcuk’s triple scored Trevor Wright to tie the game. Hunter Alberini got the win for Centennial.
Lane Oliphant went 2-for-3 to lead Reno.
Basic 9, Silverado 8 — Dalton Miller went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead Basic offensively, while Ryan Murphy scattered eight hits and struck out four over 3⅓ innings to earn the win.
Nick Thompson and Zach Hose each scored three times for the Blue Sox.
The Hawks were led by Jarod Hill, who went 4-for-4 with three RBIs, while Nikolas Cortez was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
American Legion State Tournament
Coronado 8, Liberty 6
Basic 9, Silerado8
Centennial 2, Reno 1, 10 innings
Desert Oasis 15, Legacy 1
Game 5 — Liberty vs. Reno, 8:30 a.m.
Game 6 — Silverado vs. Legacy, 11 a.m.
Game 7 — Coronado vs. Centennial, 5:30 p.m.
Game 8 — Basic vs. Desert Oasis, 8 p.m.
Game 9 — Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7, 11 a.m.
Game 10 — Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 8, 5:30 p.m.
Game 11 — Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 8 p.m.
Game 12 — Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11, 5:30 p.m.
Game 13 — Winner Game 10 vs. winner Game 11, 8 p.m.
Game 14 — Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 13, 6 p.m.
Game 15 — Winner Game 12 vs. Winner Game 13, 8:30 p.m., if necessary