Desert Oasis had hoped to wrap up its first Class 4A state baseball championship while the sun was still shining.
The Diamondbacks had to wait, but whether it was clinching in the afternoon or under the lights at Las Vegas Ballpark, the feeling was still the same.
They had their title, dominating Reno in Friday’s winner-take-all game 9-1 after losing the first game 4-1 in the double-elimination tournament.
“It just means everything to the school, the seniors, the guys who started out here four years ago,” Desert Oasis coach Paul Buboltz said. “A lot of these guys have been playing varsity baseball for four years now. They set it as a goal, and, man, they got some guys to step up tonight and took care of business.”
Desert Oasis (34-8) certainly played like the state’s best team, wasting no time to take control against the Huskies (32-7) in the final game. The Diamondbacks scored four runs on six hits in the first inning and two runs in the third.
Josh Sharman came through on the mound and at the plate.
The left-hander threw 3⅓ innings of relief to pick up the victory, allowing five hits and no runs. He also went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
“I like big games,” Sharman said. “I like pitching in big games, and I like hitting in big games. And it felt really good to play in the biggest game of my career today.”
Buboltz wasn’t surprised by Sharman’s performance.
“Sharman’s our guy,” Buboltz said. “He’s phenomenal.”
It wasn’t just Sharman.
The Diamondbacks had 16 hits, and right-handed starter D.J. Jefferson allowed two hits and no earned runs in 3⅔ innings.
In the first game, Reno scored three runs in the sixth inning, with Coleman Schmidt delivering a two-run single and Grayson Grinsell a run-scoring double.
Desert Oasis starting pitcher Aaron Roberts kept his team in the game, allowing three runs, one of them earned, and one hit in 5⅓ innings with 11 strikeouts.
His offense didn’t help. Reno left-hander Johnathan Barry and righty Ryan Hess combined to allow six hits and turned back several Diamondbacks rallies. One rally was snuffed out in the second inning when a batted ball hit Sharman between second and third bases and another on a throw out at home from Reno right fielder John Kane.
The Diamondbacks had to quickly put that loss behind them.
“Between games, we said, ‘We’ve still got a great arm with D.J. Jefferson, and we’ll be perfectly fine. We’ll go out there, and we’ll go get them,’” said Diamondbacks second baseman Zac Czerniawski, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. “There’s no way they’ll stop the offense two games in a row, and we just came out and played.”
The championship came a little later than the Diamondbacks hoped.
In the end, though, the timing didn’t matter.
“This means that all the hard work and the dedication that we’ve put through this program since seventh grade, it’s all paid off,” Sharman said. “And finally.”
— Lincoln County’s Mason Thornock was 4-for-5 with a double and tossed a five-hit shutout as the Lynx advanced to the Class 2A championship game with a 10-0 win over Yerington at The Meadows.
— Jerry Appelhans’ bases-loaded single scored Brandon Medina with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead The Meadows to an 8-7 win over Yerington in the losers bracket final of the Class 2A state tournament at The Meadows.
— Pahranagat Valley’s Jakob Frehner was 2-for-3 with three RBIs in a 13-6, eight-inning win over Indian Springs in the winners bracket final of the Class 1A state tournament at Overton.