The road to the state baseball tournament wasn’t always smooth for Bishop Gorman, but Saturday’s title game was barely a speed bump.
The Gaels scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning and rolled to a 10-0 win over Green Valley in the Class 4A state title game at the College of Southern Nevada.
The championship was the sixth straight for Gorman (35-4), which won its final 21 games of the season.
"We wanted to go out on top, and we went out on top," said senior catcher Erik Van Meetren, who has been on the past four title teams. "We did what we came to do. It’s great."
Green Valley (34-9) looked tired from the start. The Gators played eight games last week just to qualify for state and were playing in their fourth game in three days in the state tournament.
"We just ran out of steam," first-year Green Valley coach Matt Stoner said. "They’re a really good team. They put the pressure on us right off the bat."
Gorman jumped on Green Valley starter Alec Hutt right away. Hutt was making his second start in two days after throwing six innings Friday in the Gators’ 12-4 win over Spanish Springs.
The Gaels took advantage of two walks, a hit batter and four hits to claim the early 5-0 lead. Kenny Meimerstorf’s three-run double highlighted the inning.
"Hutt threw yesterday and showed a lot of courage getting back on the mound today," first-year Gorman coach Nick Day said. "That’s not easy to do. We knew if we could make him work a little bit in the first inning, make him throw a lot of pitches and get on him early, we could really get all the momentum going for the game."
Gorman added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth, ending the game when Joey Gallo hit a fly ball over left fielder Cooper Manwarren’s head in the fifth for a single to bring home Tyler Baker from third base and stop the game because of the 10-run rule.
"I saw the outfield was playing in, so I knew I could put one over their heads," said Gallo, who had two homers in the state tournament. "Right when I hit that I knew. I just put my hand up and waited for the dogpile to come get me."
The offense overshadowed a stellar outing by junior right-hander Evan Dunn, who allowed four hits and struck out six with no walks in the complete game.
"Evan Dunn was amazing," Gallo said. "He’s been great all year. He didn’t even play last year, and he come out and he was easily our best pitcher of the year. He came out and sucked it up and went out there and threw strikes."
Day said Dunn played on the junior varsity two years ago and missed last season because of a back injury.
"If anybody would have told me in the last two years that he was going to be pitching in the state championship for us, I would have laughed and thought they were crazy," Day said. "Not only does he pitch in the state championship, but we’ve got a lot of confidence in him on the mound."
Though Gorman’s final record might not indicate as much, Gallo said the season wasn’t always smooth. The Gaels lost two straight before they started the win streak.
"We’ve become a different team in the playoffs," Gallo said. "It’s unbelievable.
"We were a little selfish at the beginning of the year, and we started losing games, and then we came together."
Day and Gallo admitted they feel pressure to keep the school’s streak of championships alive.
"There’s a lot of pressure on us as the years keep going to keep winning and representing our school," Gallo said. "But we love it, and this is what we live for right here."
Day said he never would have admitted it, but he felt quite a bit of pressure in taking over for Chris Sheff, who guided the Gaels to the five previous titles.
"As much as I tried to act like there wasn’t a lot of pressure on me, or as much as I tried to avoid saying there was, there was a lot of pressure replacing Chris Sheff and what he did here," Day said. "To finally get here and get to this point and go through the playoffs without losing a game, it’s a huge relief and a great feeling. And I’m really happy for the kids."
Day was part of four state championship teams at Green Valley and said he was proud of the job his alma mater did in making it to the title game.
"They did such a good job this year," Day said. "They lost a coach also, and nobody really expected them to do much. The way they came together and the way they played, as a former Green Valley player, I was really proud of them."
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at email@example.com or 702-380-4587.In-depth high school sports coverage