The Eureka County High baseball team secured the three seed in the upcoming regional playoffs last weekend, when they defeated Mineral County at home in both games of a double-header.
On a cold and snowy May afternoon, the Vandals bats were red hot as they erupted for 26 total runs over the two games, defeating the Serpents 14-4 and 12-4.
“We did it with homeruns in the first game, and our pitching was solid all day,” said Eureka coach David Hicks. “It was snowing all day, and the conditions were pretty miserable. We almost got delayed several times because the snow was sticking.”
Despite the nasty weather, the Vandals were able to jump on Mineral County early in the first game and had big homeruns from Clancy Talbot and senior Garrett Johnson, who was playing in his final home game. Nick Hornberger led his team with three hits and Josh Plaskett finished with two. Vandals senior Andrew Hayward got the win with six solid innings on the mound.
In the second game, Johnson pitched a brilliant game, picking up the win and striking out nine in the process. Eureka pounded out 11 hits, including two each from Hornberger, Johnson, Plashett and Hayward.
The pair of wins in the regular season finale locked up the third seed in the Division IV Northern League baseball tournament that will be played this weekend in Virginia City. The Vandals (7-5) finished one game ahead of fourth place Carlin (6-6) in the final league standings.
Eureka will take on host Virginia City (10-2) in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Friday at 11:30 a.m. In the other matchup, top seeded Wells (10-0) will play Carlin at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the double-elimination tournament. The winners of the two games will meet at 4:30 p.m. the same day, while the losers will drop down and play in an elimination game at 2 p.m. The championship game will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The top two teams advance to the state tournament next weekend.
Despite his team’s 0-2 record against Virginia City this season, Hicks feels like the tournament is up for grabs.
“If we play defense like we can for seven innings, we’ll be tough to beat,” he said. “I honestly think it’s between us, Virginia City and Wells. Any given day, anyone can win.”