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Trojans clinch spot in state tourney with win over rival

The Pahrump Valley baseball team has stamped their ticket to the Nevada 3A state baseball tournament next week after defeating the Boulder City Eagles 9-4 on Wednesday afternoon.

The Trojans entered the season winless in their previous seven games against Boulder City.

Not only has that streak been broken, but the Trojans have now defeated the Eagles twice this season, with Wednesday’s win being their biggest win since, well, the last time Pahrump Valley beat Boulder City.

Their last win over the Eagles came in the first round of the loser’s bracket during the 2018 state baseball tournament.

“It feels excellent,” head baseball coach Roy Uyeno said as he gave out a “woo” following the team’s win. “It took us a while – four years. But, we’re back up there. We’re going to State, we’re going to the States again!”

Uyeno gave the ball to senior pitcher Fidel Betancourt in the biggest game of the season.

He pitched a 7-inning complete game for the Trojans. Betancourt gave up four runs on eight hits to the Eagles. He also struck out four batters.

The Trojan bats came out on fire, setting the tone early for how the game was going to go.

Pahrump batters combined for four hits, two walks and a total of eight base runners in the top of the first inning.

Senior Kyle McDaniel got the scoring started for the Trojans with a 2-run double to the left field wall.

McDaniel finished the day going 3-for-5 with three runs batted in and scoring twice.

“Our mindset was ‘just play ball,’” McDaniel said following the team’s win. “We showed up, we got early runs. Fidel did his job on the mound, threw strikes. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

Pahrump would add three more runs before the inning was over to jump out to a 5-0 lead by the end of the opening frame.

Things got a little scary for Pahrump in the middle innings.

After Dylan Spencer – a mountain of an athlete standing at 6 feet, 6 inches and weighing 275 pounds – hit a moonshot over the left field wall for a 2-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to cut Pahrump’s lead down to 6-3, Boulder City was able to load the bases on a pair of singles and a walk.

Betancourt didn’t stress it, though.

“Same thing when they’re not loaded,” Betancourt said of what was going through his mind when the bases got loaded. “I was just focusing. Focusing on throwing strikes. My middle was on fire today, so I just needed to hit my middle.”

When he was asked about nerves, Betancourt said he didn’t have any nerves because his pre-game music calmed him down.

He was able to strike out the next batter, then get an Eagle base runner out attempting to steal home on a semi-wild pitch to end the inning.

In the next inning, Boulder City once again was able to load the bases.

This time, Betancourt wasn’t able to come away unscathed, however, not much damage was done.

The Eagles were able to bring across one run on a ground-ball double play, but they didn’t get anything else after that.

Pahrump Valley held Boulder City scoreless for the remainder of the game after the fourth inning to seal the win and their spots in the regional championship game and the state tournament.

The Trojans will host the regional championship game on Friday, May 12.

When asked what his mindset was going into the regional championship, Uyeno replied saying, “We’ll play anybody. We’re in the State. That’s the goal.”

As I’m writing this on Thursday, their opponent is unknown at this time. The three teams remaining in the consolation bracket battled it out at Boulder City on Thursday afternoon. The last team standing will move on to face the Trojans on Friday.

You can find out the Trojans’ opponent by going to niaa.com to see the bracket.

Friday’s championship game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Contact sports writer/editor Danny Smyth at dsmyth@pvtimes.com. Follow @_dannysmyth on Twitter.

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