RENO — A few more inches on a throw, and Lincoln County’s baseball team might still be playing.
Instead, the Lynx saw their season come to an end on Friday at the Division III state tournament at UNR’s Peccole Park.
Battle Mountain scored on a fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh when the throw from shortstop Preston Robbins short-hopped catcher McClain O’Connor at the plate, giving the Longhorns a 4-3 win to move into Saturday’s state title game.
“Baseball’s a game of inches, for sure,” Lincoln County coach Raymond Wadsworth said. “And today, we fell a little short.”
With the game tied 3-3, Battle Mountain’s Edim Tovar lined the ball into the left-center-field gap for a leadoff triple to start the seventh.
Brenden Petersen then hit a grounder to Robbins, who caught Tovar leaning at third. Robbins took a step toward Tovar, who broke for the plate, But Robbins throw was low, and O’Connor couldn’t come up with it cleanly, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Battle Mountain (18-8) plays Yerington (22-11) in the title game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Wooster. The Longhorns would have to win twice to claim the title.
Battle Mountain jumped on top of Lincoln County with a run in the first on a sacrifice fly by Frank Peters. The Longhorns made it 3-0 in the third, scoring a pair of unearned runs when a throw from Robbins ended up in the Lincoln County dugout.
But the Lynx didn’t fold. Derek Shumway lined a two-run single to left in the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2, and Robbins scored on a wild pitch in the sixth to tie the game.
“It was gut-check time for us,” Wadsworth said. “And they battled back. Every pitch, every play, I think they were in it. They worked hard. I cannot get upset at them for lack of effort. They just tore it up. In my mind, they’re winners.”
Shumway went the distance, and didn’t allow an earned run. He gave up seven hits, struck out three and walked two.
Battle Mountain starter Jake Johnson allowed one earned run on three hits in five innings. Johnson had thrown six innings in Battle Mountain’s 2-0 loss to Yerington earlier on Friday.
Worth Nelson relieved and didn’t allow an earned run in two innings to get the win. On Thursday, Nelson went the distance, throwing a five-hitter, in Battle Mountain’s 9-1 win over Lincoln County.