The Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) baseball team was two outs away from being knocked into the losers' bracket of the Nevada 4A state tournamet by Galena (Reno), via the 10-run rule, no less. And the Gaels lost to Rancho (Las Vegas) 4-2 on Saturday, forcing a winner-take-all second game with the state championship on the line.
In the end, Gorman overcame a lot of adversity and even a few snow flurries at Aces Ballpark in Reno to capture its fifth straight state title with a 13-0 win in five innings over Rancho.
The Gaels (36-4) scored 53 runs in the four games at the tournament, including a wild 24-22 come-from-behind win over Galena (Reno) in the second round. The Grizzlies led 22-10 in the fifth inning on the strength of a two-run home run by Eric Howsley, a three-run shot by Oregon State-signee Brian Pointer and a grand slam by Jeremy Rosenthal before Gorman took advantage of the strong winds and rallied for 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Erik Van Meetren hit a solo homer to lead off the inning, while Kenny Meimerstorf and Johnny Field had three-run homers as Gorman cut the deficit to 22-20. Meimerstorf, a freshman, then hit a three-run homer as part of a four-run sixth inning that put the Gaels ahead to stay.
“To me in my time here, that’s the greatest win we’ve had by far,” Gorman coach Chris Sheff told NevadaPreps.com.
Rancho, which was making its first appearance in the state baseball tournament since 1977, battled all the way back from a 6-3 opening-round loss to Galena to make the championship game. Junior Brandon Pletsch allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings and junior Eric Holdren pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning as the Rams (33-5) overcame the foul weather to become the only state team to beat Gorman.
In the nightcap, Gorman jumped on the Rams right away, scoring two runs in the top of the first before erupting for six runs in the second inning. Field had a run-scoring triple in the first inning and added a three-run double to highlight the big second as the Arizona signee finished 3 for 4.
Cory Welch threw a three-hitter for the Gaels to pick up his second win of the state tournament. Welch threw four innings in a 14-1 win over Reno in the opener on Thursday. Meimerstorf, who hit in the No. 9 spot in the lineup for Gorman, had two triples and three home runs in four state tournament games.
“There’s a reason he’s a freshman and he’s in the lineup,” Sheff told NevadaPreps.com. “With the club we have, obviously you have to be a pretty solid hitter to be in this lineup."
In the other state title games
* Jason Wittwer was 3 for 4 with a double, a triple and three runs, and Tanner Tichenor allowed four hits in a complete-game effort as Virgin Valley (Mesquite) beat Truckee (Calif.) 8-1 for the 3A championship. It was the third straight title for the Bulldogs (25-8).
* Alex Potnick was 3 for 3 with a double and three RBIs, and Eric Ward finished 3 for 3 to lead Whittell (Zephyr Cove) to a 7-6 win over Battle Mountain in the 2A title game. Senior pitcher Jordan Morgan escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the seventh inning after Dwight Douglas hit a two-run double to cut the Warriors' lead to one run.
* Chase Hansen was 3 for 3 with an RBI and Kade Wadsworth had two hits, including a bases-clearing double in the fourth inning that broke a 2-2 tie, as Pahranagat Valley (Alamo) beat Carlin 9-5 for the 1A title. It was the 22nd straight win for the Panthers (24-2), who swept the three major boys state championships.
SPANISH SPRINGS SOFTBALL BACK ON TOP
Ashley Decker hit a leadoff home run to spark a six-run first inning, and that was more than enough for pitcher Karlyn Jones as Spanish Springs (Sparks) routed Damonte Ranch (Reno) 12-1 in the title game of the 4A softball state tournament Saturday at Hixon Field in Reno.
It was the third state title in four years for the Cougars (33-1), whose only loss came to Cajon (San Bernardino, Calif.) in March at the Sacramento Victory Tournament due to the tournament time rule.
Jones allowed three hits in the title game and gave up just 16 hits in 48 postseason innings. The Pittsburgh-bound
standout blanked Palo Verde (Las Vegas) 4-0 in the tournament opener and shut out Damonte Ranch 5-0 before seeing her scoreless innings streak, which dated back to the regular season, stopped at 48 by the Mustangs (27-12) in the final.
Jones ended the season with 19 shutouts.
"This team has been so great all year and to finish the season, my senior year, like this is phenomenal," Jones told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Decker, who signed with Cal, was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday and Nevada-bound Karley Hopkins was 3 for 4 with a double and three runs scored.
In other state title games
* Brittany Patt scored on a passed ball with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning as Boulder City beat Dayton 3-2 for the 3A title, the Eagles' first since 1999. Boulder City sophomore pitcher Karlee Koopman had back-to-back shutouts Friday and scattered seven hits while going the distance against the Dust Devils in the title game. The Eagles (34-2) finished the season on a 21-game winning streak.
* Needles (Calif.) won four straight games after dropping the opener to Pershing County (Lovelock) to earn its fourth straight 2A championship. The Mustangs scored 10 runs in the final two innings to beat Lincoln County (Panaca) 13-11 to advance to the title game. Needles then swept Pershing County 8-0 and 5-2 as freshmen pitchers Abby Chandler and Dakota Lillard combined to throw 13 straight scoreless innings over the final two games.
* Sophomore Lee Harrison threw a no-hitter with eight strikeouts as Henderson International beat Carlin 9-0 to take the 1A title. It was a bittersweet win for the Wolverines (30-4) after the private high school announced earlier this year it would close at the end of the academic year. Henderson International, which went undefeated at the state tournament, broke open the game against the Railroaders with a five-run sixth inning that was highlighted by Alex Battest's three-run homer.
MCQUEEN SWEEPS TRACK TITLES
McQueen (Reno) showed off its overall depth, winning both the boys and girls teams titles at the 4A state track and field at Damonte Ranch despite having just two individual champions.
The Lancers boys totaled 65 points to edge Canyon Springs (North Las Vegas) by four points in a meet marked by winter-like conditions. The 4x400-meter relay team of Paul Deleon, Cory Sharp, Nicholas Perrino, Arnold Carrillo was the only first-place finisher for McQueen's boys, winning in a time of 3:22.29.
Canyon Springs won the 4x100 and 4x200 relays, while senior Daveon Collins was the top individual performer for the Pioneers as he finished second to Garic Wharton of Valley (Las Vegas) in the 100 and 200. Wharton, who signed a letter of intent to play football and run track at Arizona, defended his titles in both events.
McQueen's girls rolled up 72 points, while Reno and Western (Las Vegas) tied for second place with 62.
Sophomore Katy Hufford won the long jump (18 feet, 3 3/4 inches) and was second in the 300 intermediate hurdles for the Lancers. Senior Celina Whitfield won the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.50 seconds and joined Hufford, Haley Harris and Brianna Tate on the victorious 4x400 relay team (3:55.55).
Centennial (Las Vegas) junior Karli Johonnot was edged by Whitfield in the low hurdles but did capture state titles in the high jump (5-4) and 300 hurdles (45.01). The other double winner on the girls side was Legacy (North Las Vegas) sophomore Avione Allgood, who set stadium records in winning the shot put (43-4 1/2) and discus (143-8).
1. Carson (Carson City) senior Richard Shroy captured both 4A boys distance races, winning the 1,600 in 4:18.80 and the 3,200 in 9:38.23.
2. Sullivan Stevens of Spanish Springs (Sparks) capped his prep career by sweeping the hurdles races, setting a stadium record of 38.42 in the 300 hurdles and winning the 110s in 14.66.
3. Elko senior Zach Stetler sucessfully defended his titles in the shot put and discus, winning with impressive marks of 60-4 3/4 and 181-6, respectively.
4. Centennial (Las Vegas) set a state record in the boys 4x800 relay, as the team of sophomore Nick Hartle, junior Dominic Lopez, senior Travis McDonough and junior Kyle Merritt crossed the line in 7:53.94. The previous record of 7:56.31 was set in 2007 by Silverado (Las Vegas).
PALO VERDE BOYS ROLL TO SWIMMING CROWN
Senior Cody Miller broke two state records and was a part of two victorious relays as Palo Verde (Las Vegas) cruised to the boys team title at the 4A state swimming meet at UNLV on Saturday.
The Panthers swept all three relays and scored 105 points to easily outdistance second-place Boulder City (82).
Miller, who signed a letter of intent with Indiana, won the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 1:47.53, which annihilated the previous record of 1:51.38 set in 2001 by Kurt Cady of Silverado (Las Vegas). Miller also topped Cady's mark in the 100 breaststroke, winning in a blazing 54.55, and joined Collin Sorkin, Jeff Ward and Robbie Hill on the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:28.37).
Sesto, an Iowa signee, captured the 100 backstroke (51.36) and the 100 freestyle (45.54) and teamed with Miller, Ward and Andrew Chin to take the 400 free relay in 3:10.46. Sesto, Hill, Chin and Jordan Larkin captured the 200 medley relay in 1:38.74.
Boulder City standout Zane Grothe, who is headed to Auburn, won the 200 free (1:39.41) and 500 free (4:28.60), breaking a 14-year-old state record in the latter. Dylan Wolf of Spring Valley (Las Vegas) broke the state record in the 100 butterfly, winning in 49.31.
Bishop Gorman edged Green Valley (Henderson) 82-80 to win the girls team title as freshmen Meghan Boland and Olivia Barker each won two events for the Gaels.
Boland took the 200 IM in 2:06.14 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.42. Barker won the 50 free (24.01) and set a state record in the 100 butterfly (55.26), smashing the mark of 56.36 set by Reno's Jenna Rais in 2001. Gaels senior Cierra Cortney also won her fourth consecutive state title in 1-meter diving, just missing her own state record from 2008 by .45 points.
Sophomore Samantha Harrison of Coronado (Henderson) was also a double winner, taking the 200 free (1:53.61) and 500 free (4:56.46). In addition, Douglas (Minden) won two of the three relays on the way to a fifth-place finish in the team standings.
Michelle Forman, Meagan Skilling, Mary Smithen and Haley VonSchottenstein won the 200 free relay in 1:40.40, while Forman, Skilling and VonSchottenstein were joined by Taylor Killion on the victorious 200 medley relay (1:49.27).
David Schoen works at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and is a former Associate Sports Editor and Turn2 columnist for the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune. You can reach him at ByDavid1@aol.com.