The Mineral County High baseball team fell short in their effort to win the 1A Northeastern Conference title again to Wells in a repeat of last season.
The Serpents and Leopards split in their contest on Saturday, both ending their regular seasons with only one loss. But the Leopards allowed less runs over the season than the Serpents, granting them the number one seed.
The Serps played a gem in game one of the pair. Ethan Nelms got the win for the Serpents, striking out five and allowing three hits in the 6-4 victory. Nelms helped his own effort with a three-run double in the 5th inning to drive the stake on the Leopards. Gavin Burroughs also roped a double, and Seth Bozzi smashed a triple, while Ryan Jaramillo went 2 -or-3.
The Serpents were positioned for a clean sweep of the Leopards, and a conference title going into game two. Treven Wachsmuth started on the hill for the Serps. Wachsmuth struck out 8 batters over five innings before succumbing to pitch count. The Serpents led through three innings, 2-0. Then in the 4th inning, a lead-off walk followed by two defensive errors and their first hit allowed three runs across for the Leopards. The 5th inning would prove to be just as unfortunate for the Serpents. The Leopards’ second and only other hit on Wachsmuth was registered, following another lead-off walk. Both of those runs scored on a miscalculated dead-ball decision by the umpire which left the Serps behind 5-3 going into the 6th inning.
The Serpents went into their bullpen following another lead-off walk in the 6th. Nelms, Kaden Sunderland, Ryan Jaramillo, and Tony Dominguez all tried their hand at the Wells’ offense, but it was too little too late as the Leopards were able to notch 12 runs on the scoreboard by the end of the inning.
Bodie Oberhansli tried to get a rally going for the Serpents in the bottom of the 6th inning, roping a laser up the middle off of Wells’ ace pitcher, followed by another base hit by Seth Bozzi. Jaramillo then flew out to centefield, Phillip Dees ground out to 2nd base, and Dominguez popped out to 1st base to end the game. Both Oberhansli and Bozzi scattered two hits in the game.
The Serpents will face Smith Valley in Virginia City in the regional tournament at 9 a.m. Friday. The winner advances to play the winner of the Wells and Sierra Lutheran game later in the day at 4 p.m. The championship game of the double-elimination tournament is set for Saturday at 12:30 p.m.