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Updated: August 21, 2017 @ 4:15 pm
Melba runner Tristen Stimpson (5) slides into third after stealing a base before Nampa Christian infielder Lex King (5) can make a tag during Wednesday's game.
Nampa Christian infielder Nick Tuttle (15) throws out the runner after fielding a ground ball in Wednesday's game against Melba. Melba won 6-0.
Melba infielder Tim Reinertson (11) fields a ground ball during Wednesday's game against Nampa Christian.
Nampa Christian pitcher Tyler McConnell (20) winds up for a pitch in Wednesday's game against Melba. Nampa Christian was defeated 6-0.
Melba infielder Eli Bangerter (3) tosses the ball to first to throw out the runner in Wednesday's game against Nampa Christian.
NAMPA — Melba’s Cameron Goetz didn’t know he was in the midst of throwing a no-hitter until his friend, Nampa Christian catcher Jack Castledine, told him so during the bottom half of the final inning.
The junior didn’t let the added pressure get to him, completing the bid for his first-ever no-hitter in a 6-0 win over the two-time defending 2A state champion Nampa Christian on Wednesday evening. The game was Melba’s 2A Western Idaho Conference opener. The performance helped end the Melba baseball team’s four-year losing drought to Nampa Christian. Not bad for just his second career varsity start.
“I’m shaking right now. It’s so awesome and I’m so excited,” Goetz said. “I honestly didn’t think I was going to do this well at all.
“It’s all about my defense. My defense helped me out a ton. They were the ones getting the outs that we needed.”
Goetz came up big from the plate as well. He went 2 for 4 with a game-high three runs batted in. Kobe Phillips also added a pair of hits. The junior was 2 for 3 with a run batted in.
Tristen Stimpson, Eli Bangerter, Tim Reinertson and Dillon Bodily each chipped in with a hit apiece as the Mustangs (3-1, 1-0 2A WIC) picked up a total of eight hits in the win.
Over half of those hits came in the top half of the first, as Melba wasted little time getting its bats going. The Mustangs recorded five hits through their first six batters, leading to three runs.
Bangerter singled on a ground ball to the shortstop to get things going. Reinertson followed suit with a single down the third baseline to score the game’s first run. Goetz and Bodily each singled in a run, making it a 3-0 lead for Melba after one half inning complete.
“I told the kids at the beginning of the game, ‘if we hit the ball, we win the game,’” Melba coach Jeff Sessions said. “Our bats have struggled recently, but today, we got them going and made it happen.”
The Mustangs capitalized on several Trojan errors to score insurance runs over the final three innings. A Nampa Christian fielding error allowed Bangerter to get to second base. He was brought home two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Goetz to extend the lead to 4-0.
A wild pitch by the Trojans’ Tyler McConnell in the top of sixth led to Phillips stealing home and a 5-0 advantage. Melba pushed its sixth and final run across in the seventh when Goetz plated Reinertson, who was walked by relief pitcher Nick Tuttle.
The loss drops Nampa Christian to 1-4 and 0-1 in league play to begin the season. Heading into this season, the Trojans have been to state 23 consecutive years. They’ve also been to four straight state championship games, winning the last two. But Nampa Christian only brings back five players from last year’s state championship team.
“We’re young, and we’re going to learn,” Nampa Christian coach Marc Harris said. “We got some really good veteran guys and we got a lot of guys that haven’t played at this level yet, but they’ll come along.
“I once won state one time starting a season 0-10. I told the guys, ‘you can panic and cry and mope and dope, and we’ll be 1-10 or you can determine what we need to do to get better.’ That’s our goal.”
Melba is also lacking on the experience side. It lost eight players from last season’s state tournament team. However, the Mustangs feel like they can be just as good if not better this season. And with what Melba did to Nampa Christian, that’s a hard thing to argue with.
“We feel really good about this year’s team,” Phillips said. “We just beat the two-time defending champs, but we know we have to play them again. This game doesn’t mean anything anymore. We have to let it go and worry about the next game."