RENO — Palo Verde was coming off outstanding outings from star pitchers Jaret Godman and Bryce Robison in the Sunset Region tournament. So who did coach Joe Hallead turn to on the first day of the state tournament?
Senior Nick Zuppas.
Zuppas responded with 4 2/3 shutout innings, and the Panthers claimed a 1-0 win over Bishop Manogue in the Class 4A state baseball tournament at Bishop Manogue High School.
Zuppas said he was “kind of” surprised to get the call.
“I thought I pitched well my last outing, and I thought they knew I could get the job done and trusted me, so I thought it was a good idea,” Zuppas said.
He allowed three hits and struck out five, and just one runner reached second base against him.
“There’s a lot of good teams in this tournament,” Hallead said. “And we looked at matchups and thought that Nick with his offspeed stuff was real good against this team.”
In the fifth, an error and a two-out walk gave the Miners runners at first and second. Godman relieved Zuppas and retired the final seven batters to get a save.
The Panthers scratched across the only run in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a stellar at-bat by leadoff man Nate Bartlett, who saw 15 pitches, fouling off nine two-strike pitches to draw a leadoff walk.
Bartlett went to third on a single by Peyton Cole and scored on Godman’s sacrifice fly.
“Nate put that first at-bat on him and sort of set the tone for that inning,” Hallead said “We got one across. I thought we’d get more today, but we’ll take that one.”
Manogue (25-11-1) faces Basic (30-6) in an elimination game at 1 p.m. Friday at Reno High. Palo Verde (29-9) plays Reno (33-5) at 4, with the loser facing the Manogue-Basic winner at 7.
Reno 1, Basic 0 — The Huskies scored in the top of the sixth inning to knock the two-time defending state champions into the losers’ bracket.
Brent Thomas fired a three-hitter to lead Reno. He struck out four, including two in the seventh inning to close out his complete game.
“As far as their pitcher, wow, I can’t say enough about that,” Basic coach Scott Baker said. “It was a change-up attack pretty much the whole time. The kid had great arm speed. We had a tough time picking up pitch recognition.
“That was what I was afraid of was being shut down offensively.”
Basic ace C.J. Dornak pitched the distance, but gave up the only run in the sixth when Sawyer Jaksick scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Ryan Hess.