Reno beats Manogue to win regional title
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO - It's hard to say what is more impressive about the Reno Huskies - that they've scored 50 runs in their last three games or that the only player that didn't knock in a run Saturday was 4-for-4 and scored four runs.
Whatever the case, Reno stayed hot enough to take a 13-3 victory over the Manogue Miners to win the NIAA Northern 4A Regional Championship at Bishop Manogue High School.
The game ended after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule. Both teams advanced to next week's state championships at Peccole Park and Western Nevada College.
"It feels great. It was one of our goals coming in to the season," said Reno third baseman Glenn Wallace, who didn't have an RBI but was perfect in his four at-bats and reached home each time. "It's a great feeling to get that done. We get to celebrate as a team."
As if Reno didn't have enough going for it already, starter Keegan Peterson struck out seven batters in improving to 9-0 on the season. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound right-hander spread out four hits and two runs (one earned) in his four-plus innings on the mound.
"We came out knowing we had to play a good opponent and had to play team baseball," Keegan said. "Our whole lineup is playing baseball right now. We count on every kid to get a hit and be there for the team."
Reno improved to 29-6 and will face Sunrise Region champion Green Valley in the first round of the NIAA Class 4A state championships 4 p.m. Thursday at Peccole Park. Manogue, which fell to 28-8, will meet Sunset Region champion Bishop Gorman 1 p.m. Thursday at Peccole.
"That's what we get - the No. 1 team in the country," Miners coach Charles Oppio wryly said of the Gaels, who were formerly the top-ranked team in the nation before a loss to Sierra Vista. "The journey's great getting here. [The players] don't see it now. Reno's a great club. They have a lot of confidence. They had a great approach at the plate. I haven't seen so many ground balls up the middle."
The Huskies had a veritable Murderer's Row on offense, with Skyler Kachurak leading the team with three RBI, Thomas Wood, Zach Stanford and Cavin Hill each adding two, and Austin Nyman, Pat Gallagher, Shawn Walters and Tom Jameson each knocking in one.
The Huskies scored one in the first inning, three in the second, five in the third, one in the fourth and three in the fifth to put it away.
The Miners scored one run apiece in the third, fourth and fifth, but were unable to overcome Reno's hitting or pitching.
Jameson went one inning of relief for the Huskies, allowing one hit, one walk and one run. He also struck out one.
Starter Ben Hewson took the loss for Manogue, which also pitched Darrin Wiltgen, Casey Schapper and Justin Bowman in relief.
"I just want the kids to be nice and relaxed," said Oppio, who has guided the Miners to their first 4A state appearance (his teams won five 3A state championships). "Joe [Wieland] will be rested. I was itching to throw him in today, but I didn't do it.
Manogue has won a total of eight state titles, including two at the 2A level.
Oppio said he'll likely start Wieland, who was 1-for-2 with one RBI, against the Gaels.
Bishop Gorman has won both of its state championships in the last two seasons. The Green Valley Gators have won eight state titles and the Huskies five (four were in the 3A).
Reno was the last team from the North to win state, in 2004. The victory over Manogue was the fifth regional championship for Savage, who is in his 18th season.
"I'm just proud of our players," Savage said. "We had outstanding execution today - especially from the offensive side. We just kept battling. We didn't swing at bad pitches. We very disciplined.
"Keegan was absolutely wonderful on the mound. He wanted the start today; he wanted the ball. He took control of the game. It was an outstanding effort by Keegan Peterson."
Keegan said the Huskies would approach Green Valley the same way they have the rest of their opponents this year.
"We're just going to go in and play the kind of baseball we know how to play," he said. "It's been our mission from the first day we started - league, zone and state. So far we have two of three. We want to keep on going."
"I think we have a great team here," Wallace said. "We have great chemistry. Everyone's here for everyone else. We're working for the same goal."