By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
This has been a remarkable season for the Moapa Valley High School Baseball team. Last week marked the final week of the regular season and the playoffs are now upon us.
The Pirates started last week with a road game against SECTA on Monday, May 1.
The Pirates came out hot against the Roadrunners, scoring an incredible nine runs in the first inning. It looked like Moapa Valley was going to run away with the win. But the tables turned on the Pirates quickly.
Their opponent slowly clawed their way back into the game, starting with a four run outing in the second inning. Suddenly, the Pirates blinked and the score was 10-8, with Moapa Valley barely holding on to the lead.
Things really started to feel uneasy when Pirates senior Anthony Cornwall was tossed from the game on what was called an unfair slide at home plate.
In the top of the seventh, a Chase Hadley base hit to give the Pirates an 11-8 advantage heading into the bottom of the final inning.
In the final moments, with runners on second and first, the Pirates pulled off a double play and won by a final score of 11-8.
The Pirates’ final home game of the regular season was a matchup against Del Sol on Wednesday. It was an absolute offensive show for the Pirates. Leading 3-1 in the second inning, things really started to come together for Moapa.
The bases just looked like a carousel for the Pirates. Hit after hit soared into the outfield or went through the arms of an infielder. Before they knew it, the Dragons were down 9-1.
After giving up just one run in the third, the Pirates stepped up to the plate and just kept scoring. Doubles from Daxton Longman and Dayton Wolfley on consecutive at bats led the team, and Tyler Peterson capped it off with a two RBI triple later in the inning. In the fourth, with two runners on base, Peterson tripled again into center field and brought both runners home for the winning runs and put the 15-run rule into effect.
McCann said of the win, “I think it gives us some good leverage and momentum going into the playoffs. Our guys know they can win.”
In the last game of the week and regular season, the Pirates took on Faith Lutheran in a non-league game. Chase Guesman and Anthony Cornwall both crossed home for the Pirates in the first three innings for the first two runs of the game. Moapa had jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. But the Crusaders fought back into the game, before scoring the go ahead run in the sixth inning.
In the seventh, the Pirates couldn’t pull off the rally, as three consecutive strikeouts ended the game 3-2, in favor of the host Faith Lutheran.
“They didn’t take us lightly,” McCann said. “That really says something about what our kids have done and the respect they’ve earned. This was a good tune up game for us going into the playoffs. It could have gone either way. It was a fun game to be a part of and watch.”
The Pirates’ impressive season earned them the top seed in the Sunrise division and the opportunity to host a playoff game. If Moapa can string together a few playoff wins, they might just reach the state tournament for the first time since 2012, and only the second time since 2001.
“The bottom line is, nobody has given us anything all year long,” McCann said. “Everything our kids have gotten, they earned. The game of baseball is played above the shoulders, and these guys know they’re special. They know they can win.”