Spring Valley’s American Legion baseball team has been known for its small-ball style this summer, but the Grizzlies used a pair of big swings Tuesday to help propel them to victory.
German Barajas and Michael Cardona homered to lead Spring Valley to a 9-6 win over Reno in the state baseball tournament at UNLV’s Wilson Stadium.
Along with a two-run blast over the left-field fence in the third inning, Barajas had an RBI double in the sixth to break a 5-5 tie.
The Grizzlies went on to score three more runs in the inning on RBI singles by Cardona, Enzo Bello and Billy Bob Ward, who has yet to start his sophomore year in high school. Ward was 3-for-3, improving to 7-for-9 in two tournament games.
“We do a lot of bunting, we do a lot of hit-and-running,” Spring Valley coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “But we had some guys step up today. Barajas stepped up today. He struggled Sunday night, and stepped up today with the long ball and the double. And the freshman, Billy Bob Ward, has been dynamite for us.”
Spring Valley, seeded second, is making its first appearance in the state tournament. But its first Legion tourney got off to a rocky start as the Grizzlies fell behind Durango 12-2 on Sunday. Spring Valley rallied in that game, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings before falling to the Trailblazers 13-12 in 10 innings.
“I just don’t think we showed up ready to play,” Pfatenhauer said of Sunday’s game. “And it took somebody to kind of kick us while we were down to get us excited and really get after it. Our kids play hard and they don’t give up.”
Tyler Anderson allowed three earned runs in seven innings to improve his summer record to 10-1.
“Tyler Anderson’s our ace, and we had kind of pushed him back to today and he gave us a great effort,” Pfatenhauer said. “We’re not playing real good defense right now, but the kids showed up. From the last couple innings of Sunday night through today, they played with a lot of passion and we battled.”
Barajas was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Cardona, the team’s No. 9 hitter, was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Grizzlies (26-14) will play Durango at 8 p.m. today in an elimination game. Silverado plays Green Valley at 5 p.m. in today’s first game.
Shawn Walters was 3-for-4 to lead Reno (38-26).
• Bishop Gorman 9, Durango 5 — Jeff Malm was 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and three RBIs to power the Gaels past the Trailblazers.
Malm also got the victory. He allowed one earned run on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings to improve to 5-4.
With the win, Gorman improved to 2-0 in the tournament. The Gaels will play the winner of tonight’s Spring Valley-Durango game at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The Gaels took control early, scoring three runs in the third on a wild pitch and RBI singles by Scott Dysinger and Malm.
Gorman added two runs in the fourth, then scored three in the fifth, highlighted by a two-run blast by Malm.
Dysinger and Johnny Field each had two hits for Gorman (53-20).
Alex Petrosie was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Durango (39-35).