VANCOUVER, Wash. — After an unprecedented run in the Western Regional Baseball Tournament, the Utah State Junior League champion Snow Canyon Warriors’ quest for a championship came to an abrupt halt on Monday with a loss to Arizona, 5-0.
The Warriors were 4-0 and earned a No. 1 seed in the single-elimination tournament, “A feat that no other Utah team had accomplished in tournment history, ” said Tournament Director Mike Ray.
The Warriors were matched up against the Arizona State Champions, with the winner claiming the right to play in the Championship game. SC had already beaten the team from Arizona in the tournament and revenge was in on the minds of the kids from Nogales, Ariz.
“We knew that Arizona was hungry for us,” said Warriors coach Nate Jensen. “We had upset them early in the tournament and they were gunning for us.”
Arizona scored early, putting up one run in the first. The Warriors looked like they might be onto pitcher Ricky Lopez early in the first after Austin Staheli and Austin Deming crushed the baseball, but the Arizona defense would make two stellar plays and set the tone for the remainder of the game. The Snow Canyon bats would only muster five hits on the day, two by Braden Baker, one by Matt Kitchen, one by Jed Jensen, and one by Austin Deming.
Arizona had a big threat in the third inning that was minimized by a great defensive play by Snow Canyon left fielder Stephen Gubler. With no outs and a runner at third, Arizona third baseman Mike Geradino would hit a deep fly ball to left field that would be tracked down by Gubler. The runner from third scored but the defensive effort mitigated the damages.
Arizona would put up a single run in third, one in the fifth and two in the seventh to claim a 5-0 win.
“At this level, you have to play near flawless baseball to advance,” Coach Jernsen said. “Arizona played perfect and we had a few hiccups that hurt us. Tyson Fisher pitched well for us today and gave us a chance, but we didn’t hit the ball well. When that happens you won’t win.”
“We are proud of these kids,” continued Jensen. “They have been coached well from an early age. Coaches Tim Nowatzke and Eron Deming have invested a lot of time and energy into helping these kids be successful on and off the field. I told them that one chapter may be closing, but another one is opening.”
The Warriors get a chance to play for the consolation championship today at 1 p.m. PST against the Northern California representatives. The game can be seen on the internet at www.juniorregionals.com.
Southern California 15, Dixie 2
The state champs from southern Utah were beaten by the SoCal champs and drop to 0-2 in the West Regional in Little League’s majors Division (12-year-olds).
The Dixie squad led 1-0 early and it was a thrilling 4-2 game in the fifth inning. But Southern Cal chased home 11 runs in the top of the sixth and held Dixie scoreless to end the game.
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