Jacen Yergensen made a diving catch for the final out of the Division I Sunrise Region baseball tournament losers’ bracket final and lay on the grass in center field for an extra couple of seconds.
The Coronado senior earned a break after his heroics Friday.
“What a way to end it,” Coronado coach David Padilla said.
Yergensen delivered two hits, including the big blow in a three-run fourth inning, and added a second spectacular diving catch in the bottom of that inning to lift upstart Coronado to a 5-1 victory over Basic at Las Vegas High.
The Cougars (19-15), the No. 3 seed from the Southeast League, will play Green Valley (27-6) in the championship round at 10 a.m. at Las Vegas. Coronado must beat the Gators twice to claim the region title.
Coronado eliminated defending state champion Liberty 15-10 in eight innings in the first game Friday.
“The kids just battled hard,” Padilla said. “They came in with a game plan, ‘Execute, execute, execute,’ and that’s exactly what they did.”
Basic (27-6) managed five hits as its bats went quiet at an inopportune time. The Wolves lost three of their final five games after a 22-game winning streak and scored two runs total in consecutive losses to Green Valley and Coronado to end the season.
Coronado, which had one hit though three innings against Wolves starter Ryne Nelson, broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning. Anthony Olheiser drew a leadoff walk and scored from first on Sterling Saltz’s one-out double into the left-field corner.
“That was a huge momentum turn,” Padilla said. “That double down the line just got us going.”
Coronado’s next batter, Nicco Festa, was hit by a pitch, and a wild pitch put runners on second and third. After Nate Ruiz struck out, Yergensen dropped a two-run single into center to put the Cougars up 3-0.
Donte Glover had a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning for Coronado, and Dakota Humphries added a single in the sixth to scored Yergensen, who doubled to start a two-out rally.
Coronado starter Daniel Witoslawski tossed three scoreless innings, and reliever Jacob Collins allowed three base runners in three innings until he ran into problems in the bottom of the seventh.
Logan Green doubled and went to third on Tanner Roundy’s single before scoring on a wild pitch. But 6-foot-7-inch junior Adam Garcia struck out J.J. Smith before Yergensen’s game-ending grab on David Hudleson’s sinking liner.
“We’re pitching by committee right now,” Padilla said. “Those three did an awesome job.”
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.