Courtesy photo- Mineral County’s Brandon West rounds third base in the Serpents comeback win against Sierra Lutheran in the regional tourney last weekend.

Submitted by Darren Hamrey

After defending their title as the Northeastern 1A Division Champs, the Serpent baseball team traveled to Smith Valley with hopes of defending their Northern 1A Regional title. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. An early loss in the tournament left the Serpents scrambling through the loser’s bracket, knocking off two teams in come-from-behind walk-off wins, only to find themselves back in the championship game. Usually, the team with the first loss of the tournament is the first team to go home, but not this time. The Serpents showed what heart is as they scratched and clawed their way back to a trip to the state tournament and a shot at the regional title. They fell short, however, but what an exciting weekend of baseball for Serpent fans it was.

Sierra Lutheran 5, MCHS 3 (game 1)

Taylen Wachsmuth pitched a superb game in a losing effort against the Falcons, giving up five hits and striking out seven. The Serpent lineup faced Sierra Lutheran’s top two pitchers, who did a good job keeping the hitters off balance in the box. Although the Serpents out-hit the Falcons in the contest, they were unable to put hits together when they needed them. It remained a 3-3 ballgame until the top of the seventh inning when Sierra Lutheran notched two runs and the Serpents were unable to answer in the bottom. Wachsmuth and Tony Dominguez had two hits each, and Ethan Nelms notched a double.

MCHS 9, Wells 8 (game 2)

Lefty Brandon West took the mound against Wells in game two, a team he lost to during the regular season. Wells got on top early before the Serpents answered in the fifth inning to go ahead. The Leopards then bounced back with five runs in the top of the seventh to give them an 8-5 lead coming into the top of the Serpents order. Taylen Wachsmuth smashed a double to right field to get the rally started. West followed up with a single, then Ethan Nelms with a double to the warning track to score two runs. Treven Wachsmuth then drove in the tying run. Chance Sterns, Bodie Oberhansli and Eddie Dunnett all reached base, while Treven was thrown out at home on a force out. With two outs, bases loaded, and a score of 8-8 in the bottom of the seventh, all eyes were on Tony Dominguez to be the hero. Dominguez roped a base hit to right field and the Serpents sent Wells home and moved on.

MCHS 9, Sierra Lutheran 8 (game 3)

As if the Wells game wasn’t exciting enough, the Serpents had to take it a notch higher in their second chance at Sierra Lutheran. The Falcons still had plenty of arm left in their hard-throwing right-hander that seemed to handle the Serpents the day prior. However, good velocity is only effective for so long when you’re facing a Serpent lineup that carries a .388 batting average.

The Falcons got out front early with a 7-0 lead by the third inning. Then, in the bottom of the third, it was Dunnett that swung at a third strike in the dirt, but he reached base. Dominguez then reached base on a single. Taylen Wachsmuth came up with two outs and two runners on and homered over the left field wall to get the Serpents on the board.

The Serpents continued to get themselves within reach. Then, down 8-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning, they did it again. Dominguez reached on an error followed by a Davis a single. Then Taylen Wachsmuth knocked a double to tie the game for Brandon West, who smashed a triple to the left-centerfield gap to drive in the winning run. The win clinched the Serpents spot in the state tournament.

Virginia City 13, MCHS 2 (game 4)

Dominguez and Davis faced the Muckers from the mound but a poor defensive effort in the fourth inning left the Serpents shy of a chance to battle back in late innings. Davis, West, Chance Sterns and Treven Wachsmuth all scattered hits for the Serpents. Dominguez threw well from the bump, giving up only two earned runs, while Davis gave up zero. The most memorable moment of the game came when a Virginia City base-runner challenged Freshman Alex Palacios’ arm from right field only to be hosed down at the plate.

The Serpents took their record to 22-9-1 and are on their way to Las Vegas to play in the state tournament at Durango High School on Thursday. They will face Pahranagat Valley, the number one team in the south and fight for a chance to bring home the school’s second state title of the year.