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Western continues to progress in high school baseball

Tommy Krier surprised his peers when he applied to become Western’s baseball coach going into the 2010 season.

As an assistant at Cimarron-Memorial, Krier helped the Spartans win the 2009 Sunset Region title and reach the Class 4A state finals. He was headed to a Warriors program that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2003 and has spent the past few years as a Southwest League doormat.

"We lost to Gorman at state, and then I took over Western. Everyone thought I was nuts," Krier said. "I just wanted to get a head start on head coaching, so I thought it was an opportunity. And I tell these kids the same thing — this is a great opportunity here at Western."

The Warriors have been listening to their third-year coach.

Western was eliminated from the Blazer Spring Bash tournament Wednesday with an 11-1 loss to San Fernando (Calif.) in the semifinals of the Las Vegas High Championship Bracket.

Western wanted more than a 2-2 record and a semifinal exit from the tournament, but it wasn’t long ago that the Warriors reaching the semifinals of any tournament seemed almost absurd.

Western (5-13) has already equaled its win total from last year. The Warriors, who were a combined 12-80 from 2008 to 2011, also stunned then-No. 2 Sierra Vista 3-2 on March 26.

It was fitting that Josh Yocum, who Krier called the "heart and soul" of his program, was at the center of that win. The junior left-hander pitched a five-hitter and hit an RBI double to break a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning for the Warriors’ biggest victory in years.

"This is the best team that we’ve had," said Yocum, who was 1-for-3 against San Fernando. "All these kids have a lot of heart. We just need to work."

Contact reporter Tristan Aird at taird@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @tristanaird.

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