COMMENTARY — It was an incredibly busy weekend in southern Utah with seemingly all of Salt Lake and Utah Counties in Utah’s Dixie to soak up some of our sunshine. Around the county, there were two softball tournaments, four baseball tourneys, a track meet, a whole bunch of soccer and tennis matches and even some girls golf. And that was just the high school kids. Here’s a glance at some of the highlights:
It’s hard to ignore the start Dixie baseball has had. The exclamation point on the weekend came with a victory over perennial powerhouse Spanish Fork in the championship of the Dixie Sunshine Classic. There was a huge crowd (I had to stand the whole game) and the two teams played like it was mid-May, not mid-March. Dixie’s 6-4 win surprised a lot of folks around the state.
I don’t want to over-blow anything, as it was just preseason, but Dixie has certainly put the rest of Region 9 on notice that the Flyers will be a force to be reckoned with.
Snow Canyon (3-2) is still the team to beat (only a fool picks against the defending champs), but Dixie (7-0), Pine View (4-3, averaging nine runs a game) and Desert Hills (5-3) will be tough, plus Canyon View (5-3) always brings it on the baseball diamond and Hurricane is hoping to step up its game with the opening of a new stadium out in the Hurricane Valley.
Every team in the region had a winning preseason except Hurricane, which finished 4-4. And it is certainly worth noting that the state tournament is at Dixie State’s Bruce Hurst Field this year.
In softball, Josie Platt of Canyon View leads the state with five home runs in seven games, while Snow Canyon’s Brytni Gurney and Pine View’s Kirsten Anderson are both 5-0 pitching so far this season.
Anderson has helped the Lady Panthers go 7-0 in the preseason, while Gurney has pushed the Lady Warriors to a 5-0 start. Something’s got to give tomorrow night as the two will square off at SCHS (4 p.m.) to open region play.
Dixie has started fast as well, going 7-2 in the preseason. Stacia Gelter and Summer Simkins have each doubled thrice in the preseason. The Lady Flyers open region at Hurricane Tuesday night.
In soccer, Snow Canyon lost all three of its preseason games, but the quality of opponents was strong, with 3A powers Wasatch and Judge Memorial and 5A’s Alta. It seems to have paid off as the Warriors have started Region 9 play 2-0 with a Tuesday victory over Canyon View (4-1) and Friday’s win over Pine View (1-0). We’ll see if they can keep it up with 4-2 Hurricane and defending-champion Dixie on the schedule for this week.
Meanwhile, Desert Hills is quietly making a name for itself, going 4-0-1 and getting a win at Dixie in its lone region contest so far.
Pine View’s soccer squad is having the opposite problem as the school’s baseball team. In soccer, the Panthers are struggling to score despite playing excellent defense. PV is 0-4 despite having allowed just six goals. Of course, the Panthers have only tallied a single goal themselves in those four games.
The Panther boys won the meet’s team title and distance runner Mike Finch owned the competition. He finished first in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Taylor Abel took the 800 meters for Pine View as well, powering the Panthers to the team title.
Rachel Stone, also a Panther, won the girls 1,600 and 3,200, giving the maroon and black a clean sweep in the long-distance runs. The Pine View girls finished second at the meet to Cedar, who had winners in the 100 meters (Brooklyn Shakespear) and 800 meters (Whitney Yardley). Cedar also won the 4 X 100 and 4 X 400 relays. Canyon View won the boys 4 X 400 and the Lady Falcon Melissa Kunz won the long jump.
Look for a complete schedule of the week’s upcoming games tomorrow in our “What to Watch For” feature.
Andy Griffin is a sports commentator. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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