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Small-ball rally pays off for Cimarron-Memorial

It wasn’t exactly the rally that dreams are made of.

But Cimarron-Memorial’s baseball team will take any win that keeps it in first place in the Southwest League.

The Spartans parlayed a walk, a hard ground ball, a balk and a hit through a drawn-in infield into the deciding run in the sixth inning of a 3-2 home win over Desert Oasis on Wednesday.

“Every single game is important, especially when you get into league play,” said Cimarron coach Mike Hubel, whose team improved to 18-5 overall and 5-1 in the Southwest League. The Spartans have a half-game lead over Bishop Gorman (4-1) with two weeks left in the regular season.

Niko Decolati started the Spartans’ half of the sixth by drawing a seven-pitch walk.

Decolati broke to steal second, and Jayson Hicks hit a sharp one-hopper to Desert Oasis third baseman Tyler Oscarson for the first out.

Josh Nuernberg then drilled an 0-and-1 pitch into left field for what could have been the go-ahead hit, but Diamondbacks pitcher Jordyn Compehos was called for a balk. Decolati advanced to third, but Nuernberg had to come back to the plate.

“That rule in high school about it being an automatic dead ball, I think it should be a live ball,” Hubel said. “But Josh came through when he had to. That’s all that matters.”

The Diamondbacks (15-9, 3-3) pulled the infield in, and Nuernberg pushed a 1-and-2 pitch up the middle, bouncing it in front of second base and into center to score Decolati.

Nuernberg took care of the top of the seventh, too, coming on to pitch after starter Larry Quaney walked Zach Rickard to start the inning.

Pinch runner A.J. Landis replaced Rickard and moved to second on Joel Lewis’ sacrifice and to third on a groundout by Cody Schmidt before Nuernberg retired Compehos on a dribbler in front of the plate to end the game.

Quaney allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks in the first two innings but settled down to retire 11 straight batters. He didn’t strike out a batter but got 13 flyouts in six innings.

“He’s around the zone,” Hubel said. “He’s got some good control. He can put the ball where he needs to. He’s so consistent, and he hits his spots.

“When you have a guy who can move the ball in and out and up and down like he can, it’s tough to hit.”

Cimarron erased the early 2-0 deficit by scoring twice in the third — on Nick Borowski’s RBI groundout and Tyler McAninch’s two-out single.

Gerald Robins went 3-for-3 for the Spartans and was the only player on either team to have more than one hit.

Cody Schmidt was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run, and Alex Tafesh went 1-for-3 with an RBI for Desert Oasis.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4587.

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