Winds gusting out to center field threatened to turn Thursday’s Las Vegas High at Arbor View baseball game into a race to 20 runs.
Until Daniel Jimenez brought a calming influence to the pitcher’s mound.
Jimenez threw 4⅓ scoreless innings of relief to lead Las Vegas to a 12-10 win over the Aggies.
“My teammates kept me up, kept me out of trouble,” Jimenez said. “I knew we could come back. We always finish strong.”
Jimenez came on to pitch in the third inning after the Wildcats had squandered an 8-3 lead and promptly surrendered a hit that allowed the Aggies to take a 10-8 lead.
He didn’t permit another base runner until the sixth inning and finished with seven strikeouts.
“He challenged people and mixed his pitches really well,” Las Vegas coach Sam Thomas said.
Jimenez also got three ground-outs and mostly kept the ball out of the air on a day when fielders had all sorts of trouble with fly balls.
“We had a lot of misjudged balls in the outfield,” Thomas said. “I’m proud of our kids for not giving up. I thought our kids reacted really well from losing a lead.”
Jimenez’s effort gave the Wildcats (9-3, 3-1 Mountain League) a chance to come back and tie the game 10-10 in the fifth and retake the lead on Trevor Johnson’s two-out, two-run single in the seventh.
Las Vegas loaded the bases with one out, but Leonel Anaya bounced into a fielder’s choice that forced Oliver Haro-Reyes at the plate.
Johnson fell behind 0-and-2 before poking a 2-and-2 pitch through the right side of the infield, scoring Joel Lindahl and Layne Adaro with the go-ahead and insurance runs.
“That was such a huge at-bat,” Thomas said. “He laid off some bad pitches in a tough situation, and that’s what made it good.”
Jimenez then worked out of a two-on, two-out situation in the seventh, retiring Nick Cornman on a lazy fly ball to left center to end the game.
Johnson finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Jose Martinez was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for Las Vegas.
Niles Scafati-Boyce was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for Arbor View (9-6, 3-1).