The Snow Canyon Junior (15-year-olds) team won its third straight game at the Western Regionals late Friday night, while the St. George American Legion team lost in the state championship in Logan and the Dixie Little League Majors team fell hard to a team from Nevada.
For the SC Warriors team, they kept their bats hot en route to a 19-9 victory over the host Vancouver, Wash. team. After SC pitcher Stephen Gubler held the Washington All-Stars scoreless in the first inning, the Warriors plated 6 runs in the bottom frame, highlighted by a single and two RBIs by Brock Thorkelson.
The game looked like it might be a runaway, but the scrappy Vancouver team struck back with three in the top of the second and threatened for more with bases loaded and two out. With a 3- count on the batter, SC coach Nate Jensen made a pitching change and inserted Jed Jensen. He calmly threw two pitches to end the threat.
“That is a tough thing to do to any pitcher, but Jed came in and did his job,” Coach Jensen said. “We needed two strikes and he threw them.”
The Warriors got another run in the bottom of the second on a hard line drive by Braden Baker. The score after two was 7-3.
Jensen pitched the third inning, but due to pitch count restrictions, he left the game after the top of the fourth.
Seth Smith took the mound to start the fourth. When he held the Washington All-Stars to three up and three down, the Warriors appeared to be in control. The Warriors padded their lead in the bottom of the inning by plating 6 more runs with key hits by Thorkelson. Thorkelson and teammate Braden Baker both batted 4 for 5 on the day.
The Washington All-Stars did not go away quietly, scoring 3 in the fifth and 2 in the sixth.
With a threat of a suspended game (due to darkness) looming, the Warriors needed to get 5 runs in the sixth to invoke the mercy rule. The SC team did the job by having 7 of the next 8 batters reach base. With bases loaded and the Warriors up by 8 runs, the stage was set for Zach Nowatzke to end the game. He stepped to the plate and stroked a single to left field, plating Spencer Snow and Stephen Gubler.
Coach Jensen praised his middle relief pitchers: “Jed and Seth were very important to us tonight. Seth’s innings were huge on our pitch counts and allowed us to save some arms. He is a tough kid.”
The marathon game lasted 3 hours with both teams combining with 7 pitchers.
With the win, the Warriors are 3-0 in Vancouver with a game scheduled today with the Idaho State Champs. Game time is set for 6 p.m. PST and can be seen on live stream at www.juniorregionals.com.
Mountain Ridge (Nev.) 11, Dixie LL 1
Dixie managed just one hit in a repeat performance from the regionals a year ago in which thew Nevada squad mercy-ruled the St, George team.
Dixie fans hope the loss serves as a motivator and spurs a repeat of the state tournament, where Dixie lost big to Washington to open up, then won six straight to capture the title. Dixie plays again today.
Helper AL def. St. George AL
In the state championship, Helper played very well and avenged Thursday’s 8-0 loss to St. George by shutting down the Sentinels. Helper allowed one hit and beat the Sentinels 9-0.
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