Arnold M. Knightly, Boulder City Review
A balk in the bottom of the seventh scored the winning run from third as Boulder City edged Virgin Valley, 7-6, in the 3A Southern League playoffs Friday.
The Eagles will face Moapa Valley at 10 a.m. Saturday needing to win two straight to return to the state tournament which starts Thursday in Reno.
If the team wins, the winner-take-all game is at 1 p.m.
Boulder City struggled with Virgin Valley, a team that finished the season 1-23. The Eagles had outscored the Bulldogs 70-5 in four games this season. But Friday, Boulder City fell behind 1-0 in the first inning and was never able to pull away.
Junior Tanner Howell drove in senior Aubrey Wrightsman in the bottom of the first inning, and later scored on an error to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead in the first.
Wrightsman then drove in junior DJ Koopman in the second to push the lead to 3-1.
However, Virgin Valley hitters got to starting pitcher senior Nate Hafen for three runs in the third to take back the lead.
Junior Corbett Fleming tied the game in the fourth on a passed ball. In the same inning, Wrightsman drove in Koopman again with an RBI double. Next batter junior Tanner Howell drove in Wrightsman with a double to push the lead to 6-4.
The Bulldogs responded with two runs in the fifth to tie the game, and it remained tied until the seventh inning balk that scored sophomore Colton Bosnos from third with one out.
Wrightsman went 2-for-2 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored. Hafen went 3-for-4, including the lead off single in the seventh that led to the winning run by Bosnos, who pinch-ran for Hafen.
Koopman went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
The Eagles (16-11) will have to win twice Saturday after losing their opening game of the to Moapa Valley, 5-4.
Boulder City pitcher Howell struck out 13 batters, but it was a three-run homer in the third inning that changed the game for the Eagles.
Following a pair of fielding errors to start the third inning, the Pirates took a 3-o lead with the home run.
The Eagles scored a run in the bottom of the third with a sacrifice fly by Howell, which scored Flemming.
Boulder City scored again in the bottom of the fifth when senior Colton Schulz scored on a Wrightsman sacrifice.
However, Moapa Valley (9-19) answered with two runs in the top of the six to push the lead to 5-2.
The Eagles scored a run in the bottom of the sixth when junior Billy Barth scored on an RBI triple by Schulz. Boulder City cut the lead to 5-4 when Hafen drove in senior Michael Hernandez on a two-out RBI single.
After Barth singled to put runners at first and second, senior Thomas Shelley struck out to end the game.
Schulz was 2-for3 with an RBI and a triple, and Barth was 3-for-3, reaching base a fourth time on an error.