South beats North in Kelley baseball
RENO — For a while, it looked like Southern Nevada had a strong case to claim it’s high school baseball is far superior to that of the North.
But thanks in large part to Douglas High’s Bryan Miller, the North was at least able to salvage some respect.
The South defeated the North 11-8 in the Kelley Baseball Showcase on Saturday at Reno High. The showcase features the top seniors-to-be from Northern and Southern Nevada. The series will conclude today with a doubleheader, beginning at noon at Reno High.
The South has enjoyed dominance in the NIAA large school state championship, winning 21 of the last 24 titles. But it’s been a different story in the six-year history of the Kelley event, with the North now holding a 9-7 advantage.
But the South looked much better than the North through the first 3 1/2 innings on Saturday, building a 9-1 lead. But Miller led the comeback, with the big blow coming on his three-run home run. Miller also doubled and went 3-for-4.
Galena’s Rod Scurry also pitched effectively. After allowing a home run by Centennial’s Bryce Massanari that made it 9-1, Scurry pitched two solid innings, striking out three.
He worked through an error in the fourth inning, which gave the South runners at first and third with one out, and escaped the jam.
Carson High’s Aaron Henry started in left field. He lined out to center field in his first at bat and ended up going 0-for-3.
Reno High’s Jeff Shoenbachler was roughed up in his start. Even though he struck out six, he allowed eight runs, six earned, on eight hits.
RBI doubles by Cimmaron-Memorial’s Jorge Esquivel and Massanari helped give the South a 3-0 lead in the first. Reno’s Drew Johnson doubled and his teammate Ryan Simpson singled him home to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the first.
The South scored two unearned runs in the second and a two-run double by Silverado’s Casey Coon gave the South an 8-1 lead in the third.
The North rallied in the fourth when Wooster teammates Ian Dykins and Fernando Benitez each singled. After a run scored on a fielder’s choice, Miller sent an off speed pitch over the left field fence for a three-run shot that made it 9-5.
“I think it was a changeup,” Miller said. “I wasn’t positive. I was just going to hit whatever he threw. I wasn’t trying to sit on a pitch.”
The North had an excellent chance to cut the deficit closer in the fifth when Johnson tripled and Reno teammate Steve Mays walked to give the North runners at first and third with no outs. But the North failed to score.
Miller and Galena’s Brian Evans each singled to begin a rally in the sixth. South Tahoe’s Marcus McKinnon scored Miller with a single, Evans scored on a fielder’s choice and Simpson’s RBI single made it 11-8.
Miller just missed hitting another possible extra base hit when he flew out to deep left centerfield to end the game.
“I think I got under it a little bit,” Miller said. “I just swung up at it.”