When Basic gave up six runs in the fourth inning and fell behind by three, it looked as if the Wolves would have to take the more difficult route to the Class 5A state baseball championship.
But six runs in an inning? That was nothing.
Basic scored nine runs in the bottom of the sixth Thursday to beat Bishop Manogue 14-7 in the opening game of the tournament at College of Southern Nevada and set up a showdown with Bishop Gorman, which held off a Reno rally for a 12-10 win.
Gorman and Basic will meet in the winners bracket at 1 p.m. Friday at Las Vegas Ballpark. Manogue and Reno will play an elimination game at 10 a.m. The winner plays the Basic-Gorman loser in another elimination game at 4 p.m.
Basic defeated Gorman twice last week to win the Southern Region title, but the Wolves found themselves in trouble against Manogue.
“We didn’t play well and really didn’t have a lot of energy early,” Basic coach Scott Baker said. “It’s baseball, and you’ve got to keep coming with that energy, and we really didn’t. We were playing flat, made a few errors, and we regrouped and did what we’ve been doing over the past few weeks, which is hitting the ball pretty well.”
No one hit it better than Mason Neville, who went 3-for-3 with three home runs, five RBIs and four runs. Neville said he has never had a three-homer game.
“But all that stuff doesn’t matter if you don’t come out with the win, so it was good we got that win,” he said. “Hopefully, we can take that, keep on going and win a state championship.”
Gorman almost didn’t make the rematch, nearly blowing a 10-1 lead by allowing eight runs in the fifth on seven hits while committing two errors and three wild pitches.
The Gaels responded in the top of the sixth with an RBI double by Easton Shelton and a sacrifice fly by Joey Randazzo to extend their lead to three runs. Demitri Diamant pitched the final 12/3 innings, allowing one run.
“Of course, I would’ve liked to have won by 10 and got the hell out of here,” said Gorman acting coach Brian Freitas, who filled in for Gino DiMaria, who was suspended after being ejected in the previous game. “But once we got there, I love the fact that we showed some mettle, and it’s going to take mettle (Friday) against Basic and through Saturday.”
Gorman will have to go through the same Basic team that swept the Gaels last week.
“It’s definitely in the back of our minds,” said Shelton, who went 4-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and four runs. “We want that game more than any other game that we’ve played all year. That’s the game that we want, and that’s the game we’re going to get.”
Review-Journal sports reporter Jason Orts contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.