Incline baseball | Highlanders claim Northern Division III title
The four-team, double-elimination Division III state championship tournament will be held Thursday through Saturday in Las Vegas. Incline, the top Northern seed, will face the No. 2 Southern seed, Needles, on Thursday at 4 p.m. Other side of bracket, second Northern seed Yerington will play top Southern seed Lincoln County. The championship is Saturday at 9 a.m.
The Highlanders got hot at just the right time.
The Incline baseball team swept through the Northern Division III regional tournament at Pershing County this past weekend to earn the regional title and No. 1 seed in the state championship.
Incline, seeded No. 3 in the regional tournament, opened with a 3-1 win over second-seeded Yerington on Friday. The Highlanders followed with a dramatic 5-4 walk-off win in extra innings over Pershing County. They closed the tournament with a 9-8 walk-off win over Yerington in the championship game.
In the first game, Incline senior Jack Clouthier tamed the Lions’ bats with a complete-game victory. He limited Yerington to just one run on two hits and three walks while striking out 10.
Clouthier bested Yerington starter Dakota Aiazzi, who gave up three runs on eight hits.
Senior Tommy Thompson led the Incline offense with two doubles and two RBIs. Clouthier was 3-for-3 with a triple, while Alex Barnard, Owen Graffis, Ben Snyder and Bryan Banuelos contributed a hit apiece.
Snyder was the hero in regional semifinal. In a tightly contested game that began Friday and had to be finished Saturday morning due to lightning, the senior first baseman connected for two solo home runs, the last of which he blasted in the bottom of the eighth inning for the walk-off win.
Snyder, who was hit by a pitch in the first game and broke his thumb, also went yard in his first at-bat after play resumed Saturday.
Thompson pitched all eight innings to earn the win. He gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts.
Facing Pershing County starter Dominic Barter, Incline managed six hits, with Cole Steinberg and Thompson recording a hit and RBI, and Graffis and Nicky Witty picking up a hit apiece.
In the regional title game, the Highlanders scored nine runs on just seven hits against the Lions.
Graffis put the finishing touch on the victory, as he drove the first pitch he saw into center field for a bases-loaded walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh. It was his second RBI of the game.
Thompson, Barnard, Clouthier, Snyder, Witty and Banuelos each contributed an RBI.