Thursday, May 21, 2009 | 10:53 p.m.
Maybe the Cimarron-Memorial High baseball team was nervous about playing on the big stage of the state baseball tournament.
Or maybe the Spartans were content with their season after upsetting power Bishop Gorman last week in the Sunset Regional title game.
Whatever the reason, Cimarron didn’t play like a team competing for the state title on Thursday in the first round of the large-school state tournament at the Community College of Southern Nevada’s Morse Stadium.
The Spartans committed three errors, stranded double-digit runners on base and squandered a three-run lead in losing 9-5 to Northern Region champion Douglas High.
The loss puts Cimarron in the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination event. The Spartans play Green Valley High, which fell 2-1 to Bishop Gorman Thursday, in an elimination game at noon Friday.
“Plain and simple, we were terrible today,” Cimarron coach Mike Hubel said. “We were terrible in every aspect of the game.”
Cimarron, which beat three-time defending state champion Gorman 10-2 in last week’s Sunset title game, got a two-run single from Kris Kaplan in scoring three runs in the top of the second inning for the early lead.
But Douglas responded with four runs in the second and third innings in advancing to play Gorman tomorrow at 3 p.m. Gorman, despite its loss to Cimarron, advanced to the tournament by beating Sunrise Region runner-up Las Vegas High May 16 in the state play-in game.
“A lot of them (my teammates) thought the reward for beating Gorman was winning the region,” Kaplan said. “And it was. But the bigger reward is this and getting to play at state.”
Cimarron’s best chance for a comeback came in the sixth inning when Brad Oswald and Kaplan reached base on Douglas errors and Kaz Smith walked to load the bases with one out. But Cody Gorden popped up and A.J. Hernandez flew out to center field to end the threat.
“Now we have to play with our backs against the wall,” Hubel said. “It is just a baseball game. I don’t care what time of the year it is.”
Center fielder James Carraway led Cimarron with two hits and two RBIs, Hernandez scored three runs and John King had two hits.
Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or email@example.com.