Winning a second straight American Legion Western Regional title was big for the Bishop Gorman High School baseball team.
Not having to play a doubleheader Monday to do so might be bigger.
Gorman, playing as the Southern Nevada Titans, routed host Fairfield, Calif., 14-7 in the championship round.
The victory capped a 5-0 run through the regional and preserved ace right-hander Stephen Manthei for the Titans’ first game at the World Series.
“It’s big because we didn’t have to throw Manthei, and that sets us up for him being able to throw Game 1 of the series,” Gorman coach Chris Sheff said. “Another good thing is a lot of young arms got experience. Today set us up right for the World Series.”
Gorman (62-12), the defending national champion, opens the World Series against Northeast Regional winner Berlin, Conn., on Friday. The eight-team, double-elimination series in Fargo, N.D., concludes Aug. 18.
The Titans will attempt to become the first repeat national champion since Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, in 1973 and 1974.
“It would definitely mean a lot,” Gorman outfielder Joey Rickard said of a possible repeat crown. “We’ve got a great group of guys; they want it. It’s pretty much all you need.”
Rickard, a graduated senior who signed with Arizona, was named Most Valuable Player of the regional.
He hit .478 and drove in 11 runs in the tournament. Gorman collected 15 hits Monday and 63 in the five games, including 48 in its final three.
“It’s as good as I’ve seen a Gorman lineup since I’ve been here,” said Rickard, a four-year varsity player. “The team works for it. We hit in the cage every day.”In-depth high school sports coverage