ST. GEORGE – No one can blame a Region 9 baseball fan if he pumps his fist a little or mutters a “That’s what I’m talking about,” under his breath. It was a great day for southern Utah baseball teams.
Desert Hills, Snow Canyon and Canyon View swept forward in the 3A State Baseball Tournament’s winners bracket and even fourth-seeded Dixie got a big road win before settling for a split on the day. All-totaled, Region 9 baseball went 7-1 on the day with Desert Hills winning its home pod, Snow Canyon capturing the Spanish Fork pod and Canyon View walking away with the Park City pod.
“Everybody talks about how tough this region is and it just shows come state tournament time,” Desert Hills coach Jerry Beck said. “I’m proud of all my Region 9 teams. It sets up for a fun week next week.”
Beck’s Thunder, as it turns out, are the only region champ and host to take care of business Saturday. Desert Hills started shaky, too, falling behind in its early game 3-0 to Grantsville. But the Thunder turned that game around, winning 6-3, then blasted Payson 10-2.
Snow Canyon, Region 9’s No. 2 team, got an easy 11-1 over Morgan, then survived a nailbiter against Spanish Fork, edging the host Dons 5-4.
Third seed Canyon View won an 8-7 shootout with Bear River, then surprised top seed and host Park City 3-0.
The Dixie Flyers toppled host Stansbury 6-5, but fell in the later game 5-0 to the Carbon Dinos.
In the Desert Hills pod championship game, the Thunder never gave Payson much of a chance. Zac Ivie knocked Kaleb Caplin home in the first inning and the Thunder increased their lead to 5-0 with four more runs in the second. Ivie, Evan Moss and Braiden Irvin had hits in the inning, but Payson was its own worst enemy with two errors, two walks and a hit batsman.
The Lions got one run back in the top of the fourth on an RBI by Talon Proctor, but Desert Hills made sure this game would not be close by pounding three more runs home in the bottom of the inning. Bryce Gibson had a single, Zac Ivie had a double and Ty Rutledge had a triple in the rally.
“Tonight we turned it on after a slow start this morning,” Rutledge said. “We hit the ball a little bit, but we also got lucky.”
Ivie was especially hot in the Payson game, going 4 for 4 with three RBIs and a couple of runs score.
“I’ve just been getting up there and I’m ready to hit the ball,” Ivie said. “I feel like I can see it out of (the pitcher’s) hands pretty well and I’ve just been rolling with it.”
Ivie, Rutledge and Carson Clement all had hits in the sixth inning as DH pushed the lead to 10-1. Caplin got the win and went five innings, allowing one run. Dylan File pitched the final two innings as the Thunder improved to 19-5 and advances in the winners bracket.
Desert Hills plays Carbon on Thursday at 11 a.m. at Bruce Hurst Field. The Dinos, who finished third in Region 12, were the surprise winners of the Stansbury pod. Carbon beat Juan Diego 7-6 and then shut out Dixie 5-0. Stansbury, which hosted and was 17-5 coming in, lost two straight (6-5 to Dixie and 9-7 to Juan Diego) and was eliminated from the tournament.
Snow Canyon 11, Morgan 1
Snow Canyon 5, Spanish Fork 4
Brogan Secrist got the win and tripled in the first game as SC rolled to the easy win. The Warriors had five extra-base hits, including doubles from Clint Gates, Jake Lindsay, Mason Smith and Riley Gates.
In the second game, a much anticipated match-up between two of the state’s premier programs in any classification, Riley Gates was outstanding on the mound and catcher Brady Sargent had three RBIs as SC rolled up a 5-2 lead and held on in the end.
Gates had 12 strikeouts and gave up just five hits. None of the runs were earned off of him.
“He pitched well,” coach Reed Secrist said. “We made some mistakes defensively. The grass up there was real long. Our guys are used to the ball getting there a little quicker.”
Spanish Fork had runners on base in the seventh on a couple of fluke plays, but Brogan Secrist made a great play deep in the hole at shortstop for one of the outs and Gates ranged behind the mound on a high hopper for the final out.
“When I saw that high chopper, I thought, ‘Oh, no, here we go.,’” Coach Secrist said. “But what a play by Riley to end it. It was over his head, bnut he went back and got it.”
The Warriors will play a familiar foe in the winners bracket game Thursday as Canyon View took a pair of games in Park City. The Falcons meet Snow Canyon at 1:30 p.m. at Hurst Field.
Canyon View 8, Bear River 7
Canyon View 3, Park City 0
The Falcons also advanced in the winners bracket with two wins. In the late game, Zack Brinkerhoff was his usual impressive self, keeping the Miners’ bats quiet all game. The sophomore won his sixth game of the year with the shutout.
Dixie 6, Stansbury 5
Carbon 5, Dixie 0
Trevor Cox got the win in the first game as the Flyers jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on for the victory. Tyson Graff pitched the seventh and got the save. The Stallions left five men on base in the final two innings.
The late game featured Carbon, a 14-7 team that finished four game behind Spanish Fork in Region 12, and Dixie, the fourth-seed from Region 9. But unlike the early game, the Flyers could find no offense.
So Dixie, 16-9, will fall to the one-loss bracket in the state tourney and will battle Morgan Thursday at 1:30 p.m. The Trojans lost their opener to Snow Canyon, but 10-runned Uintah to stay alive in the tourney.
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