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4A STATE: Gaels complete monstrous comeback, outslug Galena 24-22

RENO — Chris Sheff has won some big games in his six seasons as head coach of Bishop Gorman’s baseball team, including four straight state championships and an American Legion World Series title.

And none were bigger than Friday’s miraculous comeback against Galena.

The Gaels trailed 22-10 and were two outs from having the game ended by the 10-run rule before rallying for a 24-22 victory over the Grizzlies in a Class 4A state tournament game at Bishop Manogue High.

“To me in my time here, that’s the greatest win we’ve had by far,” Sheff said.

The Gaels (35-3) play Rancho (32-4) in the title game at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Aces Ballpark. The Rams would have to beat Gorman twice to earn the title.

Trailing 22-10, Erik Van Meetren hit a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the fifth and help start a 10-run rally to cut the lead to 22-20.

Kenny Meimerstorf and Johnny Field also had three-run homers in the inning.

Meimerstorf, a frehman batting ninth for the Gaels, dealt the game’s biggest blow, blasting another three-run homer to cap a four-run sixth that gave Gorman the win.

“There’s a reason he’s a freshman and he’s in the lineup,” Sheff said of Meimerstorf. “With the club we have, obviously you have to be a pretty solid hitter to be in this lineup. He’s just a battler and a scrapper, and he had good (at-bats) today. He was patient and got pitches to hit, and hit just two enormous home runs.”

Meimerstorf has totaled three home runs and a triple in two state tournament games.

“To hit those bombs, it was amazing to me,” Meimerstorf said. “It just made me go nuts.

With the wind howling at Manogue, Galena jumped out to a 10-1 lead heading into the bottom of the second. The Grizzlies blasted three home runs in the first two innings: a two-run shot by Eric Howsley, a three-run homer by Brian Pointer and a grand slam by Jeremy Rosenthal.

“We talked after the second inning and we were down 10-1 and we said ‘Hey, with the wind and our offense, we’re going to be in this game,’” Sheff said. “And I actually had goose bumps in the second inning, because I really felt like we were going to win the game.”

Gorman scored six runs in the second to get back into the game before Galena took control again with a seven-run third inning. But Gorman scored three more in the third on Field’s first three-run homer of the game, then had the big inning in the fifth.

“I knew that we were going to have to scrap and fight and they weren’t going to shut us down,” Sheff said. “It’s just too hitter friendly today.”

Gorman was helped by six Galena errors, including a two-out boot in the fifth that preceded Meimerstorf’s first three-run homer.

Galena was nearly out of the inning after allowing four runs, but right-fielder Howsley lost a fly ball in the sun, leading to a Mikal Hunter two-run single and prolonging the inning.

“It’s amazing coming back from 12 runs,” Meimerstorf said. “We just never gave up and just kept fighting. In the beginning of the game, they got up and we just knew we weren’t going to give up and lose this game.

“It just shows how much passion we have and we never give up. We have a really good heart.”

Rancho 6, Galena 3 — Eric Holdren pitched a five-hitter, and Zak Qualls blasted a grand slam as the Sunrise Region champion Rams eliminated the Grizzlies (24-11) to move into the title game.

“We’ll show up at Aces Park tomorrow at 5 o’clock, and we’ve got enough pitching left to make it interesting,” Rancho coach Tom Pletsch said. “Our goals were No. 1 the Northeast (League), No. 2 the Sunrise, and No. 3 to get to the finals and let the chips fall where they may.”

Holdren went the distance, striking out seven and walking two. He had thrown three innings on Thursday in a 6-3 loss to Galena.

The only runs he allowed came on homers to Pointer, who had a solo shot in the top of the first and a monster two-run homer to dead center in the sixth.

“Brian Pointer is signed to go to Oregon State, and he’s a hell of a hitter,” Pletsch said.

Qualls hit a grand slam in the second to give the Rams an early cushion. It was the only hit in the inning, but Pointer walked three to set up Qualls shot to left center.

Kevin Kline added a two-run homer in the third for Rancho, which hopes to end Gorman’s streak of four consecutive state titles.

“They’re the four-time defending champion, and it’s going to take a hell of an effort to unseat them in the championship game,” Pletsch said. “But we’re there.”

Rancho 6, Reno 3 — Qualls pitched a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts as the Rams eliminated the Huskies (31-5) in Friday’s early game.

Qualls had 11 strikeouts in the first four innings. He also went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs scored to help spur the offense.

Brandon Pletsch was 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBIs, and Kline doubled twice and drove in two runs for Rancho.

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