ST. GEORGE — By now, the Snow Canyon Warriors are used to pressure.
After getting swept by Desert Hills in mid-April and falling to 3-5 in Region 9 play, SC faced the prospect of needing to pretty much win out to make the playoffs. Pressure. Then, after starting the playoffs with a 13-9 loss to Park City, the Warriors knew they couldn’t lose again or the season would be over. Pressure. And Snow Canyon fell behind region co-champ Desert Hills by a run late in the game Thursday night. More pressure.
But each time, the Warriors have stared the pressure down and come away with the plays necessary to pass the tests.
“After we got beat by Park City in that first game, we just talked and said we could lay down and die or we could continue to battle and go through the loser’s bracket and get more wins and get this thing done,” SC coach Reed Secrist said. “They all got excited and they’ve been playing great ever since.”
Friday, SC defeated Carbon and Bear River to once again stave off elimination and march into the final day of the season with a chance to win a third 3A championship in a four-year span.
In the early game against the Dinos, Ike Jorgensen came up huge in the mound with a complete-game 9-0 shutout. The senior right-hander was masterful, allowing just two hits and one walk while throwing 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes.
And with his teammates pounding the ball for 14 hits and scoring at least two runs in four of the game’s seven innings, Jorgensen could focus on throwing strikes and getting the job done. He improved to 4-0 on the season with the win, hurling his first shutout of the year.
The Sargent cousins, Jake and Brady, had three hits each in the game, while Austin Deming and Nick Dolce continued swinging hot bats, each picking up a pair of hits. Dolce has four doubles and a triple in his last three games.
In the late game, many folks expected a tight contest as the Bears, the Region 12 champion, had put together a solid season. But the Warriors once again hammered the baseball at the plate, scoring a run in the first, four in the second and six in the fifth, ending the game at 11-1 on the mercy rule.
Logan Opdahl had three hits and two RBIs and Chance Thorkleson and Brad Grisenti each knocked home two as the Warriors rolled, preserving a couple of innings for a possible appearance Saturday for pitcher Dolce. He went five innings, allowing four hits and just a single run.
“Our bats continue to, well, they’re alive right now,” Secrist said. “We’re swinging it well and to have Ike Jorgensen throw a complete seven innings and Dolce to get the five inning run-rule was huge for our pitching staff.”
Cole Fronk provided the only bright spot for the Bears (17-11), hitting a monstrous home run in the second inning that briefly tied the game at 1-1.
Jake Frei’s two-run double was the big hit in the four-run second for SC, which improves to 21-8 on the season.
“We hit the ball well, every single one of us, so there’s not really one thing you can credit it, too,” Frei said. “It’s just thinking positive. There’s only one thing you can do and that’s think positive and get it done.”
Snow Canyon will need to win three straight Saturday to capture that third title in four years, starting with a 9 a.m. elimination game against Cedar, a team that swept the Warriors (6-3 in both games) earlier this season.
A win against the Redmen would put SC up against Pine View in the 3A championship game at 11 a.m. The Warriors would have to beat Pine View twice, something they did back in mid-March (4-3 and 5-3).
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