LAS VEGAS — Desert Hills found its bats — and just in time — to rally for an 8-6 victory over Tucson, Ariz., Friday afternoon at the Bishop Gorman Invitational.
Down 6-1 in the fourth inning, the Thunder scored two in the fourth and three in the fifth to tie the game, then played small ball to squeeze a pair of runs home in the sixth and come away with the win.
Desert Hills had already lost its first two games in the tournament and was staring down 0-3 when the rally began. Down 6-1, Chad Nelson led off the bottom of the fourth with a single, and Preston Creager followed with a single of his own. A balk moved them both up 90 feet and each scored on RBI groundouts by Chance Milne and Drew Thorpe to make it 6-3.
Winget pitched an uneventful top of the fifth and the Thunder put together a rally in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. With one out, Winget doubled to center. After a Brayson Hurdsman single, Winget stole third, then scored when the Tucson catcher threw the ball into the outfield.
With the score 6-4 and Hurdsman on second, Nelson walked to put the tying run on base. A passed ball moved both runners up and Creager’s sacrifice fly made it 6-5. Nelson was able to come home with the tying run when the THS first baseman dropped the ball on a dropped third strike throw to first on Milne’s at-bat.
Tucson threatened with a man on third in the top of the sixth, but Winget got a strikeout to end the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, DH got two men on with one out as Sam Rhoton singled and Trey Allred reached on a catcher’s interference. Winget walked to load the bases and then Hurdsman and Nelson sacrificed home Rhoton and Allred with the go-ahead runs to make it 8-6.
Winget gave up a couple of base runners in the top of the seventh, but got a strikeout, a pickoff and a popup to end the game.
“That was a tough team, but the guys gritted it out,” Beck said. “We were able to find a batting cage this morning and we were able to work on our swings and change our approach at the plate — work the middle, oppo, line drives, get it out of the air. That helped a lot.”
Desert Hills, 5-6, will try and end the BG Tournament with a 2-2 record by battling Palm Springs, Calif., Saturday in a 1 p.m. game. It will be played at UNLV.
“That should be a cool experience for the guys,” Beck said. “We are closer to being ready for region play. Tomorrow will be a good test for us. I feel like we’ve got a few things figured out.”
The Thunder open region play with Hurricane next Tuesday.
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