ST. GEORGE – Riley Gates is used to the naysayers, who whisper, not so softly, words like overrated and thrower, but not a pitcher. The BYU-bound senior has heard it all and just laughs as he lets his game do the talking.
Friday night Gates was dominant, striking out 13 Dixie batters and allowing no hits in a 10-0 Snow Canyon region win.
“The pitching coach just said pound the zone down low and have life on the ball and good things happen,” Gates said. “I threw mostly fastballs.”
He did walk five batters, but Gates was pretty phenomenal. Only one Dixie batter managed to even get the ball out of the infield and that was a fly out by Tyson Graff in the second inning.
“Whenever Riley’s out there we know we’ve got a shot,” coach Reed Secrist said. “We’re excited for him when he’s on the mound and we finally got him some run support.”
Last time Gates started, his team only backed him with two runs in a victory over Cedar and the time before that Gates lost a tough 2-1 decision to Canyon View. So the big rally in the fourth inning was huge.
The game was scoreless as the fourth commenced, but the Warriors got things rolling in a hurry. Clint Gates, Brogan Secrist and Riley Gates all singled to load the bases for Tyler Wardell. The wiry junior ripped the ball up the middle to break the scoreless tie and make it 2-0. Another run came home on the same play as Dixie overthrew a cutroff man and it was 3-0 with no outs. Brady Sargent and Jake Lindsay both walked to load the bases again and Brendan Turman brought home the fourth run with an RBI groundout.
Jacob Frei and Chandler Day both followed with RBI singles to make it 6-0 and the wheels were starting to come off for Dixie. A seventh run came in on another Dixie error, then Wardell got his second two-run single of the inning to make it 9-0 before Dixie was finally able to retire the side.
“We got some hits to fall,” Wardell said. “We never even got any doubles. It was all singles tonight.”
Snow Canyon invoked the high school 10-run mercy rule by plating that 10th run in the top of the fifth. Truman got his second RBI of the game, bringing home Lindsay, who had reached after getting hit by a pitch. With Gates on cruise control, Dixie had little chance of extending the game with a run in the bottom of the fifth. The Flyers did get their fifth base runner of the game when Tyler Strehlow walked, but Gates struck out the other three batter in the inning to close things out. All-totaled, Gates record 13 of the 15 outs in the game via strikeout, with one ground out and one fly out.
“Riley’s always been a stud. Ever since I can remember he’s been one of those fireballers,” said teammate and cousin Clint Gates, who had three hits in the game. “I’m glad he’s on my team, that’s for sure.”
It was an important win for Snow Canyon, which managed to stay within two games of the Desert Hills Thunder.
“We came in here with the chances of going 3-3 in this region and that’s tough,” Coach Secrist said. “It was a must-win for us, especially with the loss on Tuesday.”
SC is 10-5 overall and 4-2 in region. The Warriors’ next region game is a week away as they visit Pine View.
Dixie, 11-5 and 2-3, finishes its first half of region play with a game at home vs. Canyon View Tuesday night. Tyler Strehlow had the lone bright day for Dixie Friday night, drawing three of the five walks issued by Gates.
Desert Hills 8, Canyon View 4
The Thunder have won seven straight, including all five of their region games. Dylan File, who got the win in relief extra innings against Snow Canyon, started and beat the Falcons with lots of support from his offense.
Desert Hills scored five runs in the first three innings and then broke open a 5-3 game with three more runs in the sixth. Canyon View scored a run and had the bases loaded in the seventh, but the first-place DH squad managed to secure the win.
Zac Ivie and Carson Clement had three hits apiece in the 11-hit attack. CV also committed three errors, while the Thunder were error-free.
DH, 10-3 overall and 5-0 in region, finishes the first-half of region with a home game vs. last place Hurricane Tuesday night.
Keaton Kringlen homered for the Falcons, who fell to 8-5 overall and 3-2 in region play.
Cedar 9, Hurricane 0
Kolton Harris shut down the Tigers bats, while the Redmen scored in five of the game’s seven innings. Easton Weaver had a pair of doubles for Cedar, which picked up its second region win after starting 0-3. The Redmen are 8-7 overall and play home vs. Pine View Tuesday.
The Tigers, 6-8 and 1-4, had three hits and two errors. They play at Desert Hills Tuesday.
Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News
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