With a scoreless game going into the fifth inning, game one was turning out to be a pitching duel between Owens and league strikeout leader, Raul Naranjo. But, Naranjo was no match for Isaiah Crowl in the fifth, when he roped a base hit to get the rally started, followed by a savvy at bat by Taylen Wachsmuth which resulted in a hit by pitch. Both base runners resulted in runs for the Serpents, and then again in the sixth inning it was the Crowl and Wachsmuth show as they each drove in runs to take the Serpent lead to 4-0. Two walks by Owens in the bottom of the sixth resulted in runs for the Leopards, but the Serpents closed it out and won 4-2.
Crowl scattered two hits and drove in one run, while Spencer Benjamin had two hits, one a double to the left field wall. Tanner Owens stole one base, taking his season total to a nation-leading 57. Owens had to leave the game due to injury and was unable to play in game two.
Game two started out as a slugfest for the Serpents as they tallied nine runs in the first two innings. Hard throwing Senior LJ Donaldson took the mound for the Serpents and struck out four and gave up five runs through 3 1/3 innings before lefty Brandon West came in for relief. West held the Leopards to just one more run over the next two innings.
The Serpents put up another run off of a West triple in the fourth inning, and then again in the fifth by way of another double by Benjamin. Then in the sixth inning the Serpents went to their senior right-hander Daniel Owens to close the game. He gave up two free bases, followed by a two-run triple down the left field line, but Mineral County held on for an 11-8 win.
On the day, Benjamin was 4 for 7 with two doubles. Crowl finished 5 for 7 with 3 RBIs and Daniel Owens went 3 for 6 with a win and a save. Wachsmuth scored three runs and Eddie Dunnett drove in three for the Serpents as they clinched the Northeastern Division IV Conference.
Mineral County will now face the number two seed team from the Northwestern Conference in the regional tournament in Carlin on May 13. They played their final regular season game against 2A North Tahoe on Tuesday.
Submitted by: Darren Hamrey