Chavez, Crusaders hold off Grizzlies

Even with a 7-19 record, Faith Lutheran’s baseball team refuses to lower expectations for its final Class 3A season.

The Crusaders still have their sights on a second state championship in three years.

“Our goal is to win state, no exceptions,” first baseman Bobby Burns said.

The Crusaders showed Saturday they could be headed in that direction, gaining a 10-8 nonleague road victory over Spring Valley in nine innings.

Faith Lutheran’s Devin Chavez pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. He struck out the final two batters after the Grizzlies loaded the bases with one out in the ninth.

“(Chavez) came up huge,” Burns said. “He basically saved the game for us.”

A day after being held to one run in a sweep by Virgin Valley, the Crusaders scored twice as many runs in the first inning.

Their bats came alive against the No. 5 Grizzlies (18-7), who would be the Southwest League’s final entry into the Class 4A Sunset Region playoffs if the postseason began today.

“It’s great to see our kids pulling together and coming out with a victory,” Faith Lutheran coach Tony Girod said. “It’s great to see that at this point in the season.”

Faith Lutheran scored the go-ahead run with one out in the top of the ninth when pinch runner Nick Bata came home on an outfield error.

Spring Valley coach Paul Bassett called his team’s six errors “pretty uncharacteristic.”

“We just didn’t play catch well,” he said. “We weren’t focused, and we just assumed we had a win today. We didn’t concentrate.”

Spring Valley scored four runs in the fourth to pull within 6-4, but Burns turned on an inside fastball for a two-run homer in the fifth to expand the Crusaders’ lead to 8-4.

Faith Lutheran snapped a five-game losing streak.

“Yesterday we hit a lot of hard balls; they just didn’t fall down,” Burns said of the 8-0 and 2-1 losses to Virgin Valley. “Everything basically got through today.”

Burns was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Dylan Hanson was 4-for-5, and Daniel Ward and Adam Finlayson had two hits each.

Chase LaComb was 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead Spring Valley, which has lost three straight. Enzo Bello, Billy Bob Ward and Aaron Blair had two hits apiece.

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@ or 702-387-5203.

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