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4A STATE: Freshman Grenier bears down, closes out Gaels’ win

RENO — Bishop Gorman freshman Cadyn Grenier faced some tough situations in the Class 4A state baseball tournament Thursday.

He handled them as if he was a senior.

McQueen brought the tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh inning against Grenier, but the youngster recorded a strikeout and a fly-out to secure the Gaels’  9-6 victory at UNR’s Peccole Park.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” coach Nick Day said. “I don’t really look at him as a freshman like probably most people do. I look at him as a guy that wants the ball in a big situation and who can get outs for us.”

Gorman (37-3) plays Reno (27-7)  at 5:45 p.m. Friday. McQueen (27-8) faces Coronado (27-9) in an elimination game at 3:30, with the winner facing the Gorman-Reno loser at 8.

With Gorman leading 9-5, Grenier entered with two runners on and no outs in the sixth. He gave up a single and a sacrifice fly to bring in a run, but got out of the jam with the Gaels safely ahead.

“We brought in Grenier at the end, and he did a good job of closing the door,” Day said.

That was something Gorman’s first two pitchers — Adam Wozniak and Matt Roth — were unable to do. Wozniak allowed nine hits in four innings, and Roth walked four while recording only three outs.

“Our pitching wasn’t very good,” Day said. “We were either walking guys or we were throwing things right down the middle. And (McQueen’s) hitters were ready. They swung the bats really well and put a lot of pressure on us.”

The Gaels came out swinging the bat, too, scoring six runs in the second to take a 7-0 lead. Cody Roper had a two-run homer to left field, and A.J. Van Meetren added a three-run double to right-center in the inning.

But Gorman’s offense seemed to coast after that, as the Gaels added only two runs. Tyler Baker blooped an RBI double to left in the third, and Joey Gallo crushed a 2-0 pitch over the center-field fence in the fourth for a home run.

“We’ve been doing that lately — we haven’t been putting people away like we did early in the season and letting people hang around,” Day said. “You do that, and people have a chance to beat you.”

Roper was 2-for-3 with two runs, and Johnny Sewald went 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs for Gorman.

For McQueen, Kody Reynolds went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Robert Higley was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs.

“Any win in the state tournament is a huge win,” Day said. “You take them however you can get them. We’re real fortunate to be in the winner’s bracket. And hopefully we come out tomorrow blazing.”

Reno 6, Coronado 5 — The Cougars loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh, but couldn’t get the tying run home.

Tyler Brown and Dillon Fahr led off with back-to-back singles and Cody Howard was walked intentionally, prompting Reno to replace starting pitcher Vincent Koci with Austin Atkerson.

Coronado cleanup hitter Chandler Blanchard hit Atkerson’s first pitch to short for a 6-4-3 double play.

Brown scored on the play, but Atkerson then got Michael Pollex to ground to short, stranding the tying run at third.

“That was a heartbreaker,” Coronado coach David Padilla said. “We had Blanchard up looking for something in a gap somewhere and hopefully score two. Instead they got the double play, and we only got one.”

It had been Coronado turning double plays all game to keep it close. The Cougars made four double plays to help offset five errors. But in the end, they couldn’t overcome the miscues.

“We just made too many mistakes today,” Padilla said. “We made mistakes in the field with the five errors. We made some mental mistakes at the plate today. We’ve just got to get better from it.

“They stayed in the ballgame close and won it close because they had less mistakes than we did.”

Coronado broke a 2-2 tie on Blanchard’s two-run single through the left side in the fifth.

But Reno rallied for three runs, two of them unearned, in the bottom of the inning to retake the advantage.

The Huskies had the bases loaded with two outs when shortstop Tyler Brown ranged up the middle to make a sliding stop of a grounder by R.J. Bush. Brown popped to his feet and fired to first, but the throw went into the Reno dugout, and two runs scored.

Zach Paquette added an RBI single in the sixth to give Reno a two-run cushion.

Howard went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Fahr was 3-for-4 with two runs for Coronado, which took a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Padilla said he hopes his team can bounce back and be ready for the long road through the losers’ bracket.

“One thing that’s nice is we do have the pitching staff that can get us through it,” Padilla said. “We’ve just got to do little things more tomorrow to capitalize on the other team and then hold them. All day today, we’d go up and then they’d score.”

Paquette was 3-for-3 with a run and an RBI, and Grant Kukuk went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for Reno.

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