Gaels defeat Grizzlies in 4A state baseball opener
HENDERSON – Galena High baseball coach Gary McNamara is still waiting to see his Northern 4A championship team that looked so impressive throughout the season. Because that team didn’t show up at the NIAA 4A State Championships.
Bishop Gorman pitcher Taylor Cole got stronger as the game went along and kept the Grizzlies off balance en route to a 6-2 first-round victory Thursday at Community College of Southern Nevada.
Galena fell into a losers bracket game and must win at noon today to stay alive in the tournament. It was the second straight year that the Grizzlies lost to the defending state champion Gaels in the first round at state.
“For whatever reason we were a step slow all day,” said Galena coach Gary McNamara, who admitted he was puzzled by his team’s slow bats at the plate. “It was definitely out of character for us. I think the lack of aggressiveness put us in a weird mode, especially all the called third strikes. We’ll learn from it.”
Galena looked to be its usual self when J.D. Peters led off the game with a double. After Pete Lazzari hit the ball to the right side to move Peters to third, Peters scored on Tony Thompson’s single.
Galena had a chance to get to Cole early, but let him off the hook. Cole went on to strike out 11 in his five-hitter.
“We still had our chances and we weren’t playing very well,” McNamara said. “Their guy did a great job of throwing strikes when he got ahead and stayed on the outside half all day. We just couldn’t make the adjustment.”
Gorman took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Jeff Malm hit a two-run home run that the wind helped carry out to left field.
Galena tied the game in the third when Matt Evans reached on an infield single, moved to second on Peters’ sacrifice bunt and scored on Thompson’s single. But in the bottom of the third, Joey Rickard hit a two-run shot over the left field fence that needed no help from the wind.
“The first one, I thought that was an out,” said McNamara about Malm’s homer. Thompson was chased by John Rickard’s RBI single that bounced high off the rock solid infield, making it 5-2.
Evans came on and gave Galena four valuable innings in relief, not allowing a run. He allowed an inherited run to score on a walk and a sacrifice fly that made it 6-2. “Matt pitched great,” McNamara said.
Galena will go with Eric Maupin on the mound in today’s noon game. If it’s fortunate enough to win, Galena will come back and play again later in the afternoon, with set Jacob Anderson due to start the 6 p.m. game. McNamara said Thompson and Evans are also available.
After Thompson’s single, Cole didn’t allow a hit for the rest of the game. Cole was helped when Peters was robbed of a hit on Brandon Garcia’s diving catch in centerfield. Evans was also helped by a diving catch that Anderson made in centerfield.
Thompson had two of Galena’s five hits and Jake Hess had the other hit. Galena’s flight didn’t arrive until after midnight early Thursday morning and Thursday’s game was also played in 100-degree hit.
But McNamara said none of that should have mattered. “That’s not an excuse at all,” McNamara said. “The heat would help you as a hitter in my opinion.”