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Sierra Vista rallies to defeat Bonanza, give coach 300th victory

Sierra Vista baseball coach Nate Selby has been around long enough to know wins don’t often come easy.

So when his 300th career victory was in danger Saturday, he wasn’t surprised his Mountain Lions squad fought until the very end.

Sierra Vista sidestepped one costly error in the fourth inning and scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out a 4-3 victory over visiting Bonanza.

“This is a testament to the quality guys that we’ve had,” said Selby, who is in his 12th season. “I haven’t gotten any hits, but I also haven’t gotten any errors. To come back and find a way to win is good.”

Dustin Randall’s sacrifice fly in the sixth put the Mountain Lions on the board, and Alex Kern followed with a ground-rule RBI double to right field. With two outs in the inning, Chandler Smith worked a walk, and Cole Crosby knocked in Kern with a single to tie the game at 3.

After a Bonanza pitching change, Bailey Welter sent a 1-2 fastball into the left-center-field gap to score the eventual game-winning run.

“I knew my job,” said Welter, who finished 2-for-3. “It’s a clutch time, and I just tried my best to square the ball up and make contact. I got lucky and got a good pitch.”

In the first five innings, Sierra Vista (13-6) managed to get only two runners into scoring position and left six men on base. Smith, who started for the Mountain Lions, tossed six innings and struck out six to pick up the win.

“The way (Smith) pitched for us today was great,” Selby said. “He kept us in the game, and that’s what you expect out of your pitchers — keep you close and then find a way to win it.”

After Smith escaped a pair of jams with runners in scoring position in the first and third innings, the Bengals (10-9) came through in the fourth with the bases loaded and two outs.

A groundball to the second baseman skipped through into right field and allowed two runs to score. Daniel Romero followed with an RBI single to push the score to 3-0. Romero was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and a walk.

Sierra Vista threw a runner out at home on a fielder’s choice in the sixth and Smith stranded another runner at second before Randall entered in the top of the seventh to record the save.

Contact reporter John W. Scafetta at jscafetta@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430.

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