Desert Hills couldn’t get the bats going against Bear River Monday afternoon and now the Thunder will have to figure out a way to traverse through the one-loss bracket at the 3A State Tournament with the third round starting on Thursday.
The Bear River pod was washed out on Saturday, so the four teams involved played Monday beginning at 10 a.m. Up in Garland, the No. 1-seeded Bear River Bears beat Richfield 8-4. At the same time, the Thunder battled third-seeded Juan Diego at Fremont High and D-Hills trailed most of the game. A late flurry of runs helped erase a 3-0 deficit and the Thunder were able to beat the Soaring Eagle 10-3. All 10 runs were scored in the bottom of the sixth, including a three-run home run by Cam Winget. Preston Creager started the rally with a two-run double to get the Thunder on the board.
The Bears and the Thunder then met in the second round at Bear River and the bats never did get going for DH as the Bears held on for a 3-1 victory. Braiden Irvin pitched well, but took the loss for Desert Hills on the mound. The Thunder had three hits in the seventh, but came away with no runs. After a lead-off single, the Bears turned a double play.
Desert Hills then got back to back singles from Trey Winget and Irvin to put the tying run on base with two down. But Bear River got the final out and the Bears moved into the quarterfinals and a game with Region 9’s third seed, Cedar High.
Obviously, the loss and subsequent drop into the elimination bracket hurts D-Hills. To compound the matter, the Thunder must deal with the fact that they won’t be able to use Kayson Bowler or Braiden Irvin much in the state tournament. The two pitchers used about half of their 14 innings (per week) allowed by the UHSAA. From its current position, D-Hills would have to win seven straight games in three days to win the 2015 state championship — two Thursday, two Friday and three Saturday.
Desert Hills will begin what Thunder fans hope is a long run in the state tourney Thursday at 11 a.m. against Union. The Cougars lost 11-1 to Pine View in the foirst round, but then surprised a lot of people by eliminating Region 11 co-champion Stansbury 4-2 Saturday afternoon.
DH’s game against the Cougars will be played at Dixie High School. If the Thunder win, they will battle the winner of Snow Canyon and Payson’s elimination game which is at 11 a.m. Thursday at Pine View’s Panther Field.
The Thunder swept the Warriors in a pair of games in early April. SC was beaten 13-9 in the first round of the playoffs by Park City, but rebounded with a 12-4 win to eliminate Grantsville.
In the quarterfinals, Pine View plays Carbon at 11 a.m. at Bruce Hurst Field, immediately followed by Cedar and Bear River. If the Panthers and Redmen both win, the Region 9 foes would battle for the third time this season, this time in the state semifinals. The semis are Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Hurst Field. The 3A championship game is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, with an “if necessary” game played 20 minutes after the conclusion of the 11 a.m. game.
In rain-out make-up games, Canyon View won and moved on in the winner’s bracket, while crosstown rival Cedar was eliminated with two losses Monday.
The Lady Falcons beat Union 5-4 with Taylor Wheelwright grabbing the win in the circle. Canyon View led 5-1 after a four-run rally in the fourth inning broke open a tie game.
The Lady Cougars got a run back in the sixth and two in the seventh, thanks to five Canyon View errors. But the Falcons got the final out and came away with the close win. Union then eliminated North Sanpete to stay alive in the tourney.
Cedar fell 4-1 to Juan Diego in a three vs. two game. The Lady Reds then faced a tough Tooele team in an elimination game and came up on the short end of the stick, losing a 6-2 decision in extra innings. Cedar ends the season with a 15-13 record.
The first-round winners have only played one game so far, with Snow Canyon set to play Stansbury at Thursday, Uintah to battle Bear River, Juab to face Juan Diego and Canyon View to face Grantsville. All the no-loss bracket games are at 2 p.m. Thursday at Little Valley’s softball complex. The winners will have the rest of the day off, while the losers will play an elimination game at 4 p.m.
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