Pershing County handed the Incline baseball team a pair of crucial league losses on the Highlanders’ home turf Saturday, 12-2 and 21-14.
With the losses Incline dropped to fifth place at 6-6 in the Northern Division III standings, while fourth-place Pershing County improved to 7-5.
Only the top four teams advance to the regional postseason. That means the Highlanders need to win both games of their final league doubleheader on the road against first-place Battle Mountain (11-1) on Saturday, and for Pershing County to lose both of its final games against second-place North Tahoe (10-2).
On Saturday, the Mustangs broke open a close Game 1 with a four-run third inning and four-run fourth to take an 8-1 lead.
Pershing County added two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to extend the margin to 12-1. Incline pushed across a run in the sixth, but it was not enough to prevent the game from ending early on the 10-run rule.
The Highlanders managed just four hits off of Pershing County starter Angel Ramirez, who walked three and struck out eight in a complete game.
Incline junior Tommy Dolan, who started and picked up the loss, helped his cause by going 2-for-2 with an RBI. Ben Snyder contributed a hit and RBI, and Tommy Thompson had a hit.
Ramirez also helped his cause, as he went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Ty Arnett homered and drove in three runs.
The Highlanders got their offense going against Pershing County pitchers Scott Holland and Dominic Barter in Game 2, as they scored at least one run in every inning but the seventh.
But the Mustangs rallied for eight runs in the fifth inning to turn a 7-7 tie into a 15-7 lead. The visitors added another run in the sixth and five more in the seventh to cushion the lead.
Incline answered the eight-run fifth with five runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning. The Highlanders scored twice more in the sixth to pull to within two runs, but it wasn’t enough.
Senior Masxsimo Battel led the offensive charge with a 4-for-5 performance with a double and five RBIs, while Dolan hit two home runs and finished with three RBIs. Jack Clouthier was 3-for-4 with an RBI, Snyder was 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Owen Graffis was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Thompson also had a hit.
Patrick Schmith and Daniel Barter each drove in four runs to lead Pershing County, which had 18 hits in the contest off of Clouthier and Thompson.