Shadow Ridge’s Dan Thomas is one of many baseball coaches who subscribes to a one-game-at-a-time philosophy.
But heading into Wednesday’s Class 4A state tournament games, anybody planning to knock off the Mustangs had to be more concerned with their past two dozen games — all wins.
Thomas Moore Jr. hit a home run and Bret Emery had a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning to lift Shadow Ridge to a wild 13-8 victory over Legacy at Las Vegas Ballpark in a game it led 7-0 in the fourth inning.
The win was the 25th in a row for the Desert League champions and ensured them a spot in Saturday’s championship round at College of Southern Nevada. Shadow will have two games, if needed, to win the state title.
“I’m doing a fundraiser for my old high school up in Oregon, so we need to win the first game or I’m going to miss the fundraiser,” Thomas said.
Wednesday’s win in the sole winners bracket game avenged a 6-3 defeat to Legacy on March 17 — the last time the Mustangs were beaten.
Shadow Ridge played small ball, using walks, sacrifice bunts and Legacy misplays to build what seemed a comfortable 7-0 lead in the fourth inning.
But the Mustangs gave it all back in the bottom half of the fourth when the Longhorns sent 13 men to the plate and forged a 7-7 tie by bunching four hits, two hit batsmen, a wild pitch, a fielder’s choice and an error.
“That’s the most runs we’ve ever given up in an inning, so that was pretty scary,” Thomas said after relief pitcher Jordan Bryan closed the door on Legacy.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Nolan Aurifonti put Shadow Ridge back on top with a run-scoring single to center field. Emery then drove in three runs with his long drive to deep left-center on which he was thrown out trying for a triple.
“Start over — we’re starting over,” Thomas said of his advice to his team after Legacy stormed back and had all the momentum. “Try to win every inning. I didn’t expect one inning to change it for six.”
No. 2D Bonanza 5, No. 6M Silverado 4 — At Las Vegas Ballpark, the Bengals took advantage of three Skyhawks errors in a three-run sixth inning that proved to be the difference.
Bonanza will meet Sierra Vista in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Bishop Gorman. The winner will play Legacy for the right to take on Shadow Ridge for the state championship at 10 a.m. Saturday at CSN.
No. 2M Sierra Vista 9, No. 3M Foothill 2 — At Las Vegas Ballpark, J.T. Starkus was 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs, and the Mountain Lions scored seven runs in the fifth inning.
David Zona got the win with two scoreless innings of relief. Kaden Straily was 2-for-3 with a double for Foothill.