ST. GEORGE – Playoff atmosphere in mid-March? It absolutely was at Don Lay Flyer Field and Dixie enjoyed every minute of it in a 6-4 win over Spanish Fork in the championship of the Dixie Sunshine Classic Saturday night.
Tyson Graff hit a bases-loaded triple to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning and Trevor Cox pitched a complete game as the Flyers won the tournament for the first time in a decade.
“It’s awesome to say that we’ve done something that hasn’t been done in a long time,” Graff said.
With a standing-room-only crowd cheering every pitch, there was no doubt this was more than just your run of the mill preseason game. The Dons had won the Dixie Sunshine Classic eight straight years and there were murmurs in the crowd about Spanish Fork finally being able to get revenge for the state championship loss in football last November.
And early on, it looked like they might. The Dons, playing as the home team on Dixie’s field, took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a two-out RBI triple by Braxton Argyle, who then scored on a fielding error by Cox.
But the Flyers quickly tied the game up in the top of the fourth. Braxton Ipson led off with a double and scored on a single by Anthony Bauman. Jesse Lambert doubled Bauman to third, but he was cut down trying to score on a fielder’s choice by Tyson Graff. The next batter, Tyson’s younger brother Gavin, hustled up the line and was safe on an error by the SF first baseman, allowing Lambert to score and tie the game.
It would stay that way until the fifth inning, when Dixie put together a huge rally. Tanner Wilde reached on an error, followed by an Ipson single. Bauman grounded out, leaving first base open. The Dons had seen enough of Lambert and walked him intentionally, loading the bases for Graff.
“Jesse’s like a brother to me so it’s kind of like a low-blow to put my brother on and think that I’m not going to do anything with it,” Graff said. “It was awesome to be able to score him from first. I was thinking I gotta make them pay somehow”
His triple made it 5-2 and Dixie added another run in the sixth on a Lambert RBI single that plated Ipson. The Dons scored two in the bottom of the sixth as Cox looked a little shaky, surrendering three walks. But the senior hurler came out energized in the seventh and sent Spanish Fork down in order to end the game.
“I just tried to keep it out of their reach,” Cox said. “(In the sixth) I just stopped using my legs. I got a little tired. (Coach) pulled me out of the batting line-up so I could get ready for the seventh inning and that helped.”
The win improved Dixie to 7-0 and should give the Flyers plenty of momentum heading into region play next Tuesday.
“I think this win really puts a punctuation mark on our preseason,” coach Danny Ipson said. “We turn around Tund start region play. You talk about playoff atmosphere, Region 9 is going to be that way every time out.”
Dixie beat East earlier in the day on a seventh inning walk-off hit by Cox. Lambert has been spectacular and was named the tournaments most valuable player.
“It feels great,” he said. “I love football and I’m getting ready for baseball. We have a great team. We’ve got a lot talent.”The Flyers start region play Tuesday at Hurricane and the Tigers brand new baseball stadium.
Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News
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