It took the entire fall season, but pitching, defense and offense came together Friday night for the Pahrump Trojans Gold Baseball Club.
The unfortunate victim of this combination was Tech, who settled on the losing end of 10-0 and 14-3 scores in the season’s final Vegas Valley Baseball League games at the Arroyo Grande Sports Complex in Henderson.
Jake Riding went the distance for the six-inning no-hitter. Riding hit 10, threw just 64 places and hit a butter for Tech’s only base runner.
“He was just dominant,” coach Drew Middleton said. “Jake was almost perfect this fall.”
And he struck without pressure, as the Trojans abandoned the game early and exploded for 9 races during the first two rounds.
Kyle McDaniel went 3 for 4 with a triple, 2 RBI and 3 races; while Jalen Denton went 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and 2 stolen bases. Zach Cuellar also had two steals for the Trojans, who finished with six.
Play 2 so the Trojans score in each round. McDaniel and Denton each had three hits left, with McDaniel belting a triple, scoring 3 runs and driving in one while Denton put out 3 RBI and 5 stolen bases. Riding finished 2 for 3 with a double, 3 RBI and 2 races, and Fidel Betancourt went 2 for 3 with a steal and 2 races.
The victories gave the Trojans a 7-4 record in a competitive league filled with teams that will play at the 4A and 5A levels this spring, pandemic allows it.
“Overall, a good way to end our fall season,” Middleton said. “We got to meet talent at a high level, and we showed that we can compete at that level. I am extremely proud of the way our players fought through a unique year. Even through the challenging circumstances, they worked their butts off and got better individually and grew as a team.
“There’s a lot to build from going into high school.”
Just getting on the field was a win and very important for most baseball programs.
“Missing an entire high school season was huge,” said Middleton, the assistant coach for the high school team, which had its season finale after four games due to COVID-19. “Being able to get on the field and play 19 games this autumn – 11 from this league and eight from the Bullhead tournaments – was enormous. I think what we learned is how high our potential can really be.
“We showed that we have talent, pitching, defense and at times offensive explosion to really compete with anyone in the state. We are not deep in numbers, but we are deep in the fact that we have more children we can study and play anywhere on the court. We have four midfielders we can plug in and have confidence that they can play. We have five outfielders we trust can run down balls and throw people out. These are just examples. ”
The Nevada Interscholastic Activity Association is currently planning a spring sports season that begins with exercises on April 3, competition that begins on April 16 and the season that ends on May 22. But the NIAA has said that if students are not in school at least a hybrid learning model, sports will not be played. The Clark County School District already canceled the spring sports season, a decision that covers all CCSD schools except Moapa Valley.
But for now, the baseball season will be condensed, not eliminated, and teams will start preparing for it.
“We’re taking the rest of the month off,” Middleton said. “In January, we plan to start the light and focus mainly on conditioning while we stretch our arms. We will find ways to get better while we wait and see what happens with the high school season. “