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Bulldogs erupt late, hold off Truckee

RENO — With two of the state’s top Class 3A baseball pitchers on the mound in the winners’ bracket final of the state tournament at Wooster High School on Friday, one thing seemed almost certain.

The first team to score should win.

Virgin Valley did score 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 inning plated Zach Horlacher with the go-ahead run, and the Bulldogs outlasted Truckee 14-11 to advance to today’s state championship game.

Virgin Valley (24-8) will face Truckee (28-9) in the title game at 1 p.m. at Aces Park. Virgin Valley needs only one win to clinch its third straight state title. Truckee must beat the Bulldogs twice to earn the crown.

“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 away, taking a 4-0 lead in the top of the second inning and an 8-4 lead in the top of the fifth, but the Wolverines kept coming back.

“We got up early, and they responded,” Coach 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.

Bulldogs 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, which got home runs from Matt Devore and Victor Ruvalcaba.

Devore finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Eaton, Ruvalcaba, Gleave and Austin Gazlay added two hits apiece for Virgin Valley.

Tanner Churich was 4-for-4 with a triple and six RBIs for the Wolverines, who defeated Spring Creek 15-5 in Friday’s final game.


At Carson, The Meadows (17-13) suffered a 6-3 loss to Whittell in a first-round game before being eliminated with a 7-4 loss to Needles.


At Damonte Ranch, Henderson International lost 16-6 to Pahranagat Valley in the winners’ bracket final before being eliminated with a 9-1 loss to Carlin.

The Wolverines (20-14) committed seven errors in the opening loss and five in the second game.

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

Pahranagat Valley’s Tyler Higbee pitched a six-inning complete game, allowing seven hits.

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