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Shadow Ridge outlasts Legacy to win 4A state baseball title

Updated May 23, 2022 - 10:29 am

Shadow Ridge was hoping to win one game Saturday, grab the Class 4A state baseball championship trophy and begin the celebration.

But the Mustangs were forced to play two games when Legacy beat them 4-2 in nine innings in the first game before they rebounded with two runs in the first inning en route to a 5-1 win in the decisive game at College of Southern Nevada.

“These guys are just grinders,” Shadow Ridge assistant coach Brandon Johnson said. “These guys know how to fight, and they know how to work. They fought through the adversity and got the job done.”

Nobody felt the highs and lows of the day more than Jordan Bryan.

The Shadow Ridge pitcher was on the mound when Isaiah Mercado singled home the decisive runs in the opener. Noah Egbalic started the inning and allowed a leadoff single Colton Stanton, who scored the go-ahead run.

Because Bryan inherited Stanton as a runner, Egbalic was hung with the loss, but Bryan wanted redemption and told the coaches he wanted to start the second game.

He did and got the win with four scoreless innings. Samuel Horne allowed one earned run in the final three innings to get the save.

“The emotional turnaround for me was when we lost, I said, ‘There’s still game two,’” Bryan said. “I want this more than anybody, and I’m going to fight until the very end with my brothers.”

Leadoff batter Michael Brown was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the title-clinching game for Shadow Ridge and scored the first run on a sacrifice fly by Austin Lynn in the first inning. The Mustangs added another run on a Bret Emery single, and Brian Robinette scored on a wild pitch in the second for a 3-0 lead.

Legacy scored one in the fifth on a double by Ujyo Biles, but Shadow Ridge added two in the sixth when Brown’s popup landed just inside the left-field line.

“In games like this, it comes down to who throws more strikes,” Legacy coach Joey Lauria said. “They put up two in the first, one in the second, and the sixth really killed us when they get a bloop base hit with two outs. Congratulations to them.”

Biles drove home the Longhorns’ first two runs on a single and sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead through six innings of the first game.

Oscar Pena shut down Shadow Ridge during those six innings but lost his command in the seventh, as he walked two and hit one to load the bases. After a pitching change, Thomas Moore tied the game with a two-run single.

Shadow Ridge had a chance to win it in the seventh when Lynn lined out to Legacy’s Javier Salas at second base. Salas threw to the bag to try to double off Brock Morrow, but his throw was off target. Morrow didn’t see it right away and only advanced to third, and Emery hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

The game remained tied until Mercado’s game-winner in the ninth. Joshua Lamantia got the win with two scoreless innings of relief.

“It was a hard-fought game,” Johnson said. “A mental mistake cost us from walking it off there in the seventh when we had all the momentum. But we hit the reset button and got it done the second time.”

Contact Jason Orts at jorts@reviewjournal.com. Follow @SportsWithOrts on Twitter.

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