WHS wins it all
MESQUITE, Nev. – Mission complete.
Beginning with last season’s fourth-place finish at the Nevada 3A state baseball tournament, the Whittell High Warriors had their eyes set on one goal – taking home the state trophy themselves.
On Saturday, they followed through on their promise when the Warriors beat the Battle Mountain Longhorns for the second time in two days, 12-7, for the 2A state baseball crown.
“Remember what I said in the gym back in March,” Warrior manager Don Amaral said. “I said we had one goal and that was to win state.”
For the third time in the tournament, Thomas “Home Run” Hunter blasted a deep bomb into the Nevada desert and for the second time in two days the Warriors had to come from behind to beat the Longhorns.
Heading into the bottom of the fourth inning with the Warriors trailing 6-5, senior Brandon “The General” Lee singled with one out.
Matt Olsen laced a singled and Lee went to third on a wild pitch, putting runners on first and third with Hunter coming to the plate.
Hunter swung through two pitches with a home-run cut before connecting on a pitch and sending it high and deep into the hillside beyond the left-center-field fence to give the Warriors an 8-6 lead.
“Every time Tommy just tries to hit line drives, he’s so strong that it goes over the fence,” Amaral said.
Hunter said he wasn’t trying to put one out.
“I was just trying to get good (metal) on it,” the senior first baseman said. “But I didn’t think it would go out.”
Hunter’s blast took the wind out of the Longhorns’ sails as the Warriors continued to add runs in successive innings to extend their lead. In the fifth, Whittell scored once and in the sixth they added three more.
Much like Friday’s contest, the Warriors fell behind early and had to come back.
Hunter got the call on the mound and gutted out two innings, giving up three runs before giving way to Joe Piccola in the fourth.
“Coach told me he needed for four innings,” Hunter said. “So I told Joe we needed 13 outs to get to Brandon and we got 14.”
Lee, who threw 25 outs in the two previous games, had only eight outs remaining in his 33 allotted outs for the tournament.
Piccola came in and kept the Warriors in the game until Amaral could go to Lee with two outs in the fifth.
“Coach pulled me aside and told he wanted one out (in the fifth),” Piccola said. “When I got it, he kept me in for another.”
Lee came in and shut the Longhorns down for the most part, giving up only a run in the sixth on an error.
On Friday, the Warriors beat the Longhorns for the first time, 10-5.
Whittell had to come back from a 4-0 deficit to get the win. In the fifth, Matt Olsen tied the game with a two-run double and scored on an error. The Warriors added another four runs in the seventh to extend the lead and qualify for the finals.
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