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I-A BASEBALL: Koopman’s walk-off blast gives Boulder City state title

RENO — Peyton Koopman went to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh just hoping to extend the inning.

Instead, the senior outfielder ended the game.

Koopman crushed a 2-and-0 pitch for a walk-off, two-run homer to give Boulder City a 4-3 win over Sierra Vista for the Division I-A state baseball title at Bishop Manogue High.

“I knew that I just had to extend the inning, so I was trying to find a way to get on,” Koopman said. “And when that pitch came in, it just looked so good.”

Koopman’s blast gave the Eagles (28-7) their first state championship since 2006.

“It feels amazing,” Koopman said. “We’ve been working at it for four years. Throughout the four years, I’ve been to the state tournament three times, and I’ve always just wanted to win it.”

Trailing 3-2, No. 9 hitter Michael Morelli started the rally by reaching on an infield single to lead off the inning. It was the third time he’d reached base.

“He had some very quality at-bats even though he didn’t sting too many baseballs,” Boulder City coach Bobby Reese said of Morelli. “I don’t think he hit a ball out of the infield today, but he got on base three times with two walks and an infield single to set it all up.”

After a flyout, Austin Wishard hit a potential double play ball to short. But Wishard hustled down the line and dove to the bag to beat the relay to first, bringing Koopman to the plate with two outs.

“I turned to the trainer – I had just met her today – and I said, ‘This is our guy. He’s got a chance to crush one,’” Reese said.

Koopman did just that, handing Sierra Vista its second loss in the double-elimination tournament.

“He was due,” Reese said. “He hit the ball well this weekend for us, but obviously that was his first home run of the tournament. Right guy, right spot, no doubt about it. What an exciting moment for him, for our program and for that family. A very special moment.”

Things looked like they might get away from the Eagles early, as the Mountain Lions jumped on starter Jacob Hubel for two runs in the top of the first. That was essentially all he would allow, although Sierra Vista did take the lead on a two-out error in the fifth inning.

“Home run aside, I don’t want it to overshadow what a great pitching effort we had today,” Reese said. “He was able to come in here against a good team and put up a bunch of zeroes and give us that opportunity in the bottom of the seventh.”

Cooper Kitrel went 3-for-3 with a double and a run to lead Sierra Vista (21-20).

Wishard was 2-for-3 with two runs, and Koopman added an RBI double in the first for the Eagles.

“It’s every high schooler’s dream,” Koopman said. “Hit the walk-off in the state championship. It’s crazy.”

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