ST. GEORGE – Baden Powell doesn’t drive a bright red truck or slide down a silvery pole, but there’s no doubt he is Desert Hills’ fireman.
For the second straight game, Powell came into a red-hot situation and doused the Thunder’s opponent with a hose full of curveballs and sliders. This time it was Pine View as Powell diffused a tense bases loaded situation and preserved a 4-2 Desert Hills lead. The Thunder bats then caught fire and provided the fireman with four insurance runs in Desert Hills’ 8-2 win over the Panthers Wednesday night.
“I honestly haven’t heard that (fireman term),” Powell said. “When you go in there, bases loaded, you can’t get rattled. You have to go in there with a bulldog attitude and you can’t let anything get to you.”
The Thunder head into the Easter break in first place, having won region games against Dixie, Cedar and Pine View. Coach Jerry Beck is happy, but said he realizes there is still a lot of baseball to play.
“It feels good,” he said. “We like being 3-0. Some of these games when you don’t have your best you almost take the NCAA mentality of survive and advance.”
Powell came on in relief of Dylan File, who led Desert Hills to a 4-0 lead going into the fifth. But suddenly File couldn’t find the strike zone, walking a man and grooving balls for Kash Walker, Dylan Draper and Tristan Duran, who all singled. With the score 4-1 and two men out, Beck handed the ball to Powell.
It took him one batter to warm up as Powell walked Micah Morgan to force home Walker and make it 4-2. But he then struck out Justice Santiago to retire the side and was dominant the rest of the way, allowing no Pine View hits the final 2 and a third innings. He got the save, just like he did last Saturday against the Dixie Flyers.
“He’s kind of been our go-to guy so far,” Beck said. “It’s nice to have him in our back pocket.”
Bryce Gibson continues to swing the bat well for Desert Hills, ripping a triple in the seventh inning that ignited a four run “insurance” rally. Gibson, who also had an RBI single earlier in the game, said he’s just been trying to focus.
“Just coming to practice every day, a lot of tee work and a lot of work on the field with our coaches throwing to us, it really helps out when it come to the game,” Gibson said. “This summer we worked really hard and built our team together and it carried over into the season.”
The Thunder grabbed the lead in the second inning. DH executed a perfect double steal as Ty Rutledge broke for second. Pine View catcher Hunter Hanson threw across the diamond to try and get Rutledge and Carson Clement broke from third to home. Both runners were safe and that made it 1-0 in the bottom of the second. Braiden Irvin followed that play with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
The Thunder added two more in the fourth on RBIs by Gibson and Zach Ivie before Pine View made their little rally in the fifth.
Desert Hills, 8-3 overall and 3-0 in region, plays at Snow Canyon next Tuesday in what should be a doozie of a game between two teams with state championship aspirations.
The Panthers, 5-6 overall and 1-3 in region, got a decent outing from starting pitcher (and freshman) Dakota Donovan and got a pair of hits by Draper. The Panthers play at Canyon View Tuesday.
Videocast by Sarafina Amodt, St. George News
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