COMMENTARY — The final week of the Region 9 season has begun for baseball and softball and Region 9 soccer begins its playoff portion of the season Thursday, so this is a crucial week for 3A teams in southern Utah.
Many of the usual suspects are on top in spring sports, but there are a few surprises as well. Below, we’ll take a look at what to expect and the different scenarios involved for each team. We’ll start with soccer, with the first-round match-ups already in place.
Dixie is the defending state champ and one of the favorites to win it all at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 9. The Flyers, 11-3-3 on the season, open the playoffs at home against Union, 3-11-0, the fourth-place team from Region 10. If Dixie wins, they’ll host another playoff game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Walt Brooks Stadium against the winner of Ben Lomond (5-8-0) and North Sanpete (5-8-1). It’s hard to imagine any scenario where Dixie loses in the first or second round. The Flyers should be able to cruise into the semifinals at Alta High School May 8.
Pine View won the tiebreaker over Snow Canyon and is the No. 2 seed from Region 9 and will host Park City at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Miners, 5-8-1, are usually a powerhouse in soccer, but struggled this year and finished in third place in Region 10. If they can defeat Park City, the Panthers, 9-7-1, would likely travel to Stansbury (8-3-1) as the Region 11 champion Stallions play Region 12 No. 4-seed Richfield (6-7-0).
Snow Canyon, 13-4-0, has the longest road trip with the Warriors playing at 10-6-1 Uintah in Vernal. I like SC’s chances and iof they win, they would play either Region 12 champ Payson (8-4-2) or 4-9-1 Bear River.
Hurricane is playing pretty well, but faces the daunting task of traveling to Juan Diego and facing the 11-2-1 Soaring Eagle, who won Region 10. The Tigers did beat Uintah earlier this year, a team that just came away with a tie against Juan Diego. The winner of Thursday’s 4 p.m. game will face the winner of the Carbon (9-4-3) vs. Grantsville (8-5-0) match.
I like Region 9 to win three matches in the first round and I think Hurricane will give the No. 1-ranked Soaring Eagle all they can handle. In fact, it wouldn’t shock me if the Tigers pulled off an upset.
Here’s the state bracket via UHSAA.
This week’s 3A boys soccer playoffs:
Thursday (all games at 4 p.m.)
Ben Lomond at North Sanpete
Union at Dixie
Hurricane at Juan Diego
Grantsville at Carbon
Snow Canyon at Uintah
Richfield at Stansbury
Park City at Pine View
Quarterfinals (at higher seed’s home site)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Desert Hills (9-1) has clinched at least a share of the region title, but the Thunder (9-1 in region) have not clinched the No. 1 seed. The Thunder need one win to do that in this week’s two-game set against Pine View. The two teams play tonight at Pine View (ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM) and again on Friday at Desert Hills. If the Thunder win either game, they will host a two-round playoff pod with Region 11 No. 2 (probably Stansbury), Region 12 No. 3 (Carbon or Juab) and Region 10 No. 4 (probably Union).
Pine View (7-3) could end up anywhere from first to fourth, depending on that series with D-Hills. Two wins this week will give the Panthers the No. 1 seed. A split would leave PV tied with Cedar, but the Panthers would get the tiebreaker and be No. 2. A pair of losses would make PV third if Snow Canyon loses at least one to Hurricane or fourth if the Warriors sweep the Tigers. Our guess is that the Panthers will split this week and end up with a trip to Region 11’s champ, Bear River.
Cedar (8-4) is done with region games and will watch this week’s contests with keen interest. The Redmen can do no worse than third place, which would send them to Payson’s pod. Their only hope for a No. 2 seed is to have Pine View get swept by Desert Hills.
Snow Canyon (5-5) got a huge sweep against Dixie and now has just last-place Hurricane in its path toward a playoff spot. Two wins will get the Warriors in the playoffs and if Pine View loses two to Desert Hills, SC would get the third seed by virtue of their sweep of the Panthers back in March. If SC splits with Hurricane, they’d still get in if Dixie can take one or both against Canyon View. The fourth seed will head to Park City (most likely) for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Canyon View (4-6) needs help to get in. If the Falcons sweep Dixie and Snow Canyon loses one to Hurricane, there would be a play-in game (probably next Tuesday). If CV sweeps and SC loses two, the Falcons would be the fourth seed and go to Park City. A split with Dixie would likely eliminate both the Falcons and the Flyers.
Dixie (3-7) is still alive mathematically. The Flyers need to sweep Canyon View this week and hope Hurricane sweeps Snow Canyon. In that scenario, both Dixie and SC would be 5-7 and with a playoff spot on the line, there would be a play-in game next week. It’s unlikely, but possible.
Hurricane (0-10) will try and play spoiler this week with two games against Snow Canyon. Even one win by the Tigers could really complicate things for the Warriors, depending on what happen with Dixie and Canyon View.
The most likely scenario is a DH-PV split, a Snow Canyon sweep and a Dixie-Canyon View split, which would make the top four teams (in order) Desert Hills, Pine View, Cedar and Snow Canyon. But I’ve learned long ago that the likely scenario and the actual event aren’t always the same thing. Whatever happens, it should be an exciting last week in Region 9.
After the pods, the rest of the state tourney is at Bruce Hurst Field here in St. George. Here’s the state bracket via UHSAA.
This week’s Region 9 baseball schedule
Canyon View at Dixie, 7 p.m.
Desert Hills at Pine View, 7 p.m. (ESPN SportsRasdio 106.1 FM)
Snow Canyon at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Dixie at Canyon View, 4 p.m.
Hurricane at Snow Canyon, 7 p.m.
Pine View at Desert Hills, 7 p.m. (ESPN SportsRasdio 106.1 FM)
Snow Canyon (8-2) has led the region all season, but a loss to Dixie has them tied heading into today’s de facto region title game at Canyon View. The winner this afternoon (4 p.m.) is most likely the No. 1 seed and, like baseball, gets to host a four-team pod. In softball, the pods are May 9, although the winners of the first round would not play again until May 14, when the state tourney moves as a whole to the softball fields at Little Valley.
Canyon View (8-2) faces the same situation as the Warriors, although the Lady Falcons also have a tough road game Friday at Pine View to close out the regular season. A win vs. SC today wouldn’t mean much if CV falls against the Panthers. SC finishes with a home game against last-place Hurricane. So the Falcons really need two wins this week to get the top seed. The No. 2 seed is looking at a second-round match-up with powerful Grantsville. Avoiding the Cowgirls would be advisable.
Cedar (6-4) was right in the mix for the region title until three straight losses (Pine View, Snow Canyon and Canyon View) dropped the Lady Reds out of contention. They are still in with a win at home today vs. Desert Hills or Monday in a weather make-up game vs. Dixie.
Pine View (6-5) controls its own destiny with one region game left. The Panthers are at Canyon View Friday with a playoff spot — and maybe a No. 3 seed — on the line for PV. But a loss would put PV at 6-6 and give Dixie hope for that fourth playoff spot. PV has a bye today.
Dixie (4-5) really complicates things for two reasons: one, they have played very well lately with wins over Snow Canyon and Pine View a, two, the Flyers had a weather-postponed game with Cedar that won’t be made up until next Monday. So with three games left, Dixie could end up 7-5, 6-6, 5-7 or 4-8. A 7-5 finish would include a win over Cedar, meaning the Flyers would at least tie for the playoff spot. A 6-6 finish would only be OK if Pine View lost to Canyon View. At 5-7 or 4-8, the playoffs are off the table.
Desert Hills (3-7) can do no better than 5-7 and has been reduced to the spoiler role with two games left (at Cedar today and at Dixie Friday).
Hurricane (0-10) could also have an effect on who does what as the Tigers host Dixie today and are at Snow Canyon Friday afternoon.
My best guess is that Snow Canyon will win its last two games and be the top seed, CV will be second, Cedar will end up third and Pine View will sneak in as the No. 4 seed.
Here’s the state bracket via UHSAA.
This week’s Region 9 softball schedule:
Desert Hills at Cedar, 4 p.m.
Dixie at Hurricane, 4 p.m.
Snow Canyon at Canyon View, 4 p.m.
Canyon View at Pine View, 4 p.m.
Desert Hills at Dixie, 4 p.m.
Hurricane at Snow Canyon, 4 p.m.
Dixie at Cedar, 4 p.m.
AROUND THE REGION
Some quick notes from around Region 9:
— Region tennis for the boys is Friday and Saturday at Tonaquint. Hurricane is the host school.
— Region track and field, hosted by Dixie, is May 6-7 (that’s a Wednesday and Thursday) at Walt Brooks Stadium.
— Girls golf has one more tournament on May 5 at Sun River, with State also being in St. George may 13-14 at Bloomington Country Club.
— Congratulations to former Desert Hills star Haley Bodnar, who signed to play at BYU last week after one injury-filled year at Purdue. Bodnar will sit out one season due to transfer rules before beginning her playing career for the Cougars.
— Snow Canyon senior catcher Brady Sargent is a finalist for the Gatorade Player of the Year Award for Utah. he is a three-year full-time starter for the Warriors and has hit 12 home runs and 23 doubles during his high school career.
— Tonight will be the final regular season game at Don Lay Flyers Field, but not the last high school game. A new Flyers Field is set to open next season, but the current field will host a few state playoff games in mid-May.
“This Week in Region 9″ is a weekly column written by Andy Griffin exploring the happenings in Region 9 at all sports venues. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.
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