Back-to-back champs: Desert Hills clinches second straight region title

Pine View at Desert Hills, St. George, Utah, Apr. 25, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Griffin, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With the defense back to its usual excellent level and ace Dylan File on the mound, Desert Hills is just about impossible to beat.

Friday night, the Thunder used that combination, along with some timely hitting, to beat Pine View 5-0 and clinch their second straight Region 9 championship. Desert Hills, 8-2 in region, has a three game lead with two games left on their schedule and cannot be caught.

Desert-Hills-smPine-view-sm“It’s pretty amazing,” coach Jerry Beck said. “We just told the boys how proud of them we are and how the hard works eventually pays off. We’ve been in a little bit of a funk the past couple of weeks, but I thought we prepared well for this game and we came out and played very well tonight.”

It helped that File, one of the top pitchers in the state of Utah who throws fastballs up around 90 miles an hour, was on the mound. He allowed just four hits and struck out nine Panthers. But the Thunder defense was also solid behind him, something that was missing Tuesday night in Pine View’s 6-4 win over D-Hills.

“We kicked it around a bit the other day,” Beck said. “But the defense was good and solid. And Dylan wanted the ball tonight, which is what you want from your senior leader.”

The Thunder had six errors vs. PV earlier this week, but committed just one Friday night — and that one, a throwing error after a File strikeout by catcher Wyatt Bendall, was erased mere seconds later when File picked the runner off of first.

In fact, the defense of Desert Hills created a lot of big plays. In the fourth inning, Desert Hills turned a 4-6-3 double play just before Brooks Barney hit a triple down the right field line. Barney then got tagged out on a passed ball when Bendall played a carom off the backstop perfectly and tossed to File for the easy tag out. In the fifth inning, Bendall picked off a runner at first base who had wandered too far.

DH's Clay Gardner
DH’s Clay Gardner

Both File and Pine View pitcher Harrison Goebel had their sliders working well in the game and it was scoreless until the bottom of the third. The Thunder loaded the bases on a bad-hop single, a walk and a hit batsman and Clay Wilcox broke the scoreless tie with a 3-2 walk, forcing home Evan Moss. After a Goebel strikeout, Clay Gardner made it 3-0 with a sharp single just past the Pine View third baseman that scored Brayson Hurdsman and File.

The score stayed 3-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when Bendall uncorked a hot line drive that cleared the left field fence in a big hurry. The homer chased home Wilcox, who had singled, and made it 5-0, effectively crushing any Pine View thoughts of a comeback with File on cruise control.

The win clinches the top seed once again for Desert Hills, which means DH will host the four-team “pod” in the first two rounds of the state 3A tournament. The pod games will be May 10, with the Thunder hosting the Region 12 No. 4 team , the Region 10 No. 2 team and the Region 11 No. 3 team.

D-Hills does have one week of region games left. The Thunder, 16-4 overall, host Snow Canyon Tuesday and are at the Warriors Friday night.

The Panthers, meanwhile, got a pretty good performance from pitcher Goebel, who allowed just four hits in his complete-game effort. Pine View, 10-9 overall and 5-5 in region, finishes the season with a series vs. Dixie. Two wins will likely get the Panthers in the playoffs, while two losses will likely keep them out. A split may keep them out or at least put them in a play-in game.

Stats: pvdh42514

Video produced by Dallas Griffin

Hurricane 7, Desert Hills 6

One of the reasons the Thunder were able to clinch the region crown outright was a surprising development in Cedar City as the Tigers got their first win of the region season on the road at Canyon View Friday night.

It was blustery and both teams had problems hanging onto the ball. Hurricane trailed twice. first, it was 3-0 heading into the fifth when the Tigers struck for five runs to take a 5-3 lead. Canyon View countered for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to regain the lead at 6-5. But Hurricane got two in the sixth and held on for the 7-6 win behind the pitching of Easton Jolley and the hitting of Erik Mitchell.

The teams combined for 18 hits and 11 errors.

Canyon View is done with region play and ends 7-5 (13-8 overall), while Hurricane, 1-9 and 7-12, finishes region play next week with a series vs. Cedar.

Region 9
Desert Hills 8 2 62 26 .800 16 4 141 39 .800
Canyon View 7 5 67 52 .583 13 8 126 97 .619
Cedar 6 4 47 29 .600 16 5 145 52 .762
Snow Canyon 5 5 69 73 .500 11 10 153 151 .524
Pine View 5 5 57 60 .500 10 9 119 104 .526
Dixie 4 6 59 46 .400 11 10 127 97 .524
Hurricane 1 9 28 103 .100 7 12 106 181 .368

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Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • Don mayfield April 26, 2014 at 6:06 am

    Clay Gardner is one of the best young men you’ll ever meet. His work habits both on and off the field were instilled in him by a strong family core. As a family friend I couldn’t be more proud of Clay along with the whole baseball team. Good luck boys. Don Mayfield

  • Don mayfield April 26, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Ps. I will say Clay needs to improve on his after game interview skills….. Duh. Haha.

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