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SMALL SCHOOLS: Bulldogs outlast Truckee in pitchers’ duel turned slugfest

RENO — With two of the state’s top Class 3A baseball pitchers on the mound in the winners’ bracket final of the state tournament Friday at Wooster High School, one thing seemed almost certain.
The first team to score should win.
Virgin Valley scored first, and won — but not without a whole lot of offense in between.
Tanner Tichenor’s one-out single in the top of the seventh plated Zach Horlacher with the go-ahead run, and the Bulldogs outlasted Truckee, 14-11, to advance to the state championship game.
Virgin Valley (24-8) will face Truckee again on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the title game at Aces Park. The Bulldogs need only one win to clinch its third straight state title. Truckee would need to win two consecutive games against Virgin Valley to claim the title.
“It was two of the best pitchers in the state, so you’re thinking it has to be a pitchers’ duel,” Virgin Valley coach Boyd Wittwer said. “It was just a slugfest.”
Neither Virgin Valley’s Jason Wittwer nor Truckee’s Maclane Brady factored in the decision. On a blustery day, the two combined to allow 20 runs on 22 hits with 10 walks.
Virgin Valley kept trying to put Truckee (28-9) away, taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the second and an 8-4 lead in the top of the fifth, but the Wolverines kept coming back.
“We got up early, and they responded,” Wittwer said. “Good teams handle adversity, and that’s what we told the kids. They did a good job of handling that, as did Truckee.”
Virgin Valley, though, delivered the final haymaker, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh.
Horlacher led off the inning with an infield single and advanced to second on an error. After a strikeout, Horlacher moved to third on a balk and scored on Tichenor’s single to left.
Daniel Gleave followed with a double down the left field line, chasing Tichenor to third. Kyler Hughes brought both runners home with a single up the middle.
Bulldog reliever Brandt Eaton, who worked 2 1/3 innings, retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.
Jason Wittwer was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI for Virgin Valley, and Matt Devore and Victor Ruvalcaba each added a home run for the Bulldogs.
Devore finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Eaton, Ruvalcaba, Gleave and Austin Gazlay added two hits apiece.
Tanner Churich was 4-for-4 with a triple and six RBIs for the Wolverines, who beat Spring Creek, 15-5 in Friday’s final game.


Needles split a pair of games on Friday to stay alive in the Class 2A state tournament at Carson High.

The Mustangs lost 11-7 to Battle Mountain in the opener, then eliminated The Meadows (17-13) 7-4.

The Meadows lost its first game, 6-3, against Whittell.

Needles (22-8) plays Battle Mountain (21-10) at 9 a.m. today at Carson with the winner advancing to play Whittell (31-3).

Should Whittell lose that game, a second would be played to determine the champion.


Henderson International (20-14) lost 16-6 to Pahranagat Valley in the winners’ bracket final before being eliminated with a 9-1 loss to Carlin at Damonte Ranch High.

The Wolverines committed seven errors in the opening loss and five in the nightcap.

Chris Laliberte had a home run and RBI double for Henderson International in the first game.

Pahranagat Valley’s Tyler Higbee pitched a six-inning complete game, allowing seven hits as the Panthers advanced to Saturday’s championship game.


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