Wanting success and achieving it are two different things.
Yerington’s baseball program had yearned a state championship for more than 30 years, before finally claiming the Class 2A title on Saturday with a 10-6 win over Needles, Calif., at The Meadows.
“It feels great,” third-year Yerington coach Stephen Schreibeis said. “These boys have wanted this for a long time, and Yerington has too. To get it is such a great feeling that I really can’t describe.”
Senior captain Cole Aiazzi gave up four earned runs on seven hits to earn a win and supplied a double, a single, an RBI and a run for Yerington.
“He was confident the whole game and did a great job on the mound,” Schreibeis said. “We believe in our defense, though we gave up three errors, but that’s what happens in a state championship game with everyone so pumped up.”
Aiazzi was more crafty than overpowering and recorded a strikeout in every inning except the sixth, including the game’s final out.
“I’ve been waiting for this day ever since winning the District 3 World Series as a 10-year old,” Aiazzi said. “My curveball was really on today, thank God. We knew that they’re a good-hitting team, and I just had to throw my strikes and let my defense work behind me.”
The Lions (26-9) led 8-0 after three innings before Needles (21-10) responded with a five-run fourth inning.
Aiazzi walked Jared Enderle on four pitches with the bases loaded to score Sam Grillo, who finished 2-for-3.
Matt McAndrews followed Enderle with a soft dribbler to second and hustled down the line to beat the throw as Devin Truscott crossed the plate. Mason Cisneros then doubled to right field to clear the bases and cut the Lions’ lead to 8-5.
Needles inched closer with a run in the sixth on a ground-rule double by McAndrews to make it 8-6.
Yerington escaped further damage in the sixth by turning an inning-ending double play. Aiazzi got Cisneros to fly out to center fielder Curtis Stubblefield, who threw to third to prevent McAndrews from advancing. The throw got away from third baseman Travis Jones, but shortstop Michael Garner backed up the throw and fired to nab McAndrews at third.
McAndrews supplied two hits, two RBIs and a run for Needles.
Yerington’s softball team was used to knocking around White Pine, having put up 37 runs in three games against the Bobcats this season and winning each by the 10-run rule.
But the Class 2A state title game turned out to be a pitching duel, as the Lions manufactured two runs in the fifth inning and got a three-hit shutout from junior Katie Nicholas to nip the Bobcats 2-0 on Saturday at The Meadows.
“It hasn’t quite hit me yet. It’s very overwhelming but well-deserved as I had a great group of girls who’ve worked hard all year,” first-year coach Sarah Cobb said. “I had seven seniors who were very determined, and it’s a great way for them to go out.”
Nicholas kept White Pine (21-15) off balance with her changeup and fastball.
“She’s been a solid pitcher for us, having pitched almost every single game this season,” Cobb said. “Her change was working, but for the most part she was getting by with speed.”
Ashly Jackson led off the fifth with a single for Yerington (24-6). Tori Crowell doubled to move Jackson to third, and Jackson raced home on a passed ball to score the game’s first run. Crowell then stole third and scored on a single by Taylor Richardson.