Back-to-back champs: Eagles take advantage of Spring Creek’s pitching woes to win title 8-7

Taking advantage of a depleted Spring Creek pitching staff, Boulder City High School’s baseball team grabbed an early eight-run lead Saturday in the Class 3A state final at Faith Lutheran and held on to edge the Spartans 8-7 to capture its second consecutive state 3A championship.

“It’s very special for us to go back-to-back and to say I was part of the first in Boulder City baseball history,” head coach Bobby Reese said. “We’re a program that has had a history of being great for a very long time.”

Rattling off seven runs in the second inning, the Eagles chased Spartans starter Jason Painter, who gave up four runs in 1-1/3 inning, and Mitchell Owsley, who was only able to get one out before being pulled after allowing four runs.

Junior Anthony Pacifico started off the Eagles in the first inning with an RBI single, followed by RBI singles from juniors Rhett Armstrong (2-for-4) and Teddy Lobkowicz (2-for-4) in the second inning.

The Eagles would load the bases later in the second inning, drawing three walks from Owsley, earning RBIs for D.J. Reese, Noah Higgins and Nolan Herr, who went 2-for-2, including a double.

Herr hit a double for the Eagles in the fifth inning, but was left on base.

“We stayed patient at the plate, and it benefited us,” coach Reese said. “Going in we preached to the team that they were short on pitching and had to throw guys with not a lot of experience. We felt it was in our advantage to go deep into counts, either drawing a walk or sitting on a full-count fastball. That approach really paid off for us early in the game.”

Trailing 8-0 heading into the top of the fourth inning, the Spartans made the state final interesting, scoring two runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Reaching into the back of the rotation after pulling their starter, Higgins, and relief pitcher Herr, senior ace Jake Hubel pitched the sixth and seventh innings to ensure the victory. After allowing a run in the top of the seventh, Hubel got slugger Sheldon Wilkinson to pop up to end the game.

“I was confident we could get the last out with my defense behind me,” Hubel said. “I threw him a pitch I thought could be effective, and my team did the rest. We’ve all worked so hard to get here. It was the perfect moment to end my high school career.”

Taking an unorthodox approach to winning their second consecutive state championship, the Eagles entered the Southern Region playoffs as the second seed after finishing the regular season just one game over .500.

Marred with inconsistencies throughout the season while breaking in a new core of ball players, there were several moment it looked as if the Eagles’ season would be cut short without their ultimate goal. Staying resilient and buying into the team’s philosophy, coach Reese and the Eagles made sure they didn’t go home empty handed.

“Our coaching staff is very proud of these guys,” Reese said. “We certainly had our fair share of ups and downs. Our nonconference schedule was brutal for us, finishing 1-10. A lot of teams would have dwelled on that failure but not this group. They took some lumps throughout the regular season, learned from it and got better together at the right time. They learned how to be champions.

“This victory is even more special being able to accomplish this with my son and a group of boys he has played with for a lot of years in the Boulder City Little League program,” he said.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at

Six Eagles named all-stars

State champion Boulder City High School will be well represented today at the College of Southern Nevada, Henderson campus, fielding six participants in the 3A all-star game.

Playing in a Sunrise vs. Sunset format, senior and junior first- and second-team, all-conference selections will represent their leagues.

Fielding four first-team selections, the Eagles are headlined by senior ace pitcher Jake Hubel and junior starting pitcher Rhett Armstrong. Juniors Anthony Pacifico and D.J. Reese were first team offensive selections.

Senior catcher Kodey Rahr and junior outfielder Teddy Lobkowicz earned second-team selections.

The first pitch will be at 3 p.m.