ST. GEORGE — Chance Vowell hasn’t been hitting particularly well lately, so the Dixie senior slugger decided maybe he just needed to relax more. And skip breakfast.
Vowell, who admits he skipped breakfast on game day Thursday, hit two home runs and a double and racked up four RBIs in the process, busted out of a mini-slump to help lead the Flyers to a 9-5 win over Snow Canyon at Warrior Field.
“I just wanted to relax and have fun,” Vowell said. “We couldn’t move up or down in the standings and so the pressure was off of us. Coach told us to just go out and play the game we love. He also wanted us to be really aggressive at the plate.”
Dixie was aggressive, whacking away at first-ball fastballs by Snow Canyon pitcher Austin Deming to the tune of 16 hits in the game. Deming, who had a one-hit shutout a week ago against Hurricane, struggled to get outs against the red-hot bats of Dixie.
“We really didn’t know a lot about him, so we told the kids to just go out and hunt for fastballs,” Flyers coach Danny Ipson said. “We’ve been talking about it for a couple of weeks, being able to adjust to the pitcher and being able to attack early in the count if the opportunity presents itself.”
Dixie jumped ahead in the top of the second inning with four runs. Vowell started it off with a one-out solo home run to center, then was followed by five straight singles from Trevor Connell, Wyatt Woodland, Duncan Staheli, Hobbs Nyberg and Dayton Dempsey. Vowell, Staheli and Dempsey picked up RBIs with their hits and Tyson Fisher had an RBI fielder’s choice.
The Warriors got one back in the bottom of the second on an RBI by Kaleb Gates, then tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Deming had an RBI single in the rally and the other two runs came home on wild pitches.
But the rest of the game would belong to the Flyers as Dixie grabbed the lead back with three in the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh. The rally in the fifth, which put DHS ahead 7-4, included a two-run double by Vowell and an RBI single by Woodland.
“Chance is a good hitter and we’ve been working through it with him to make a little more solid contact,” Ipson said. “He’s been missing it just a little bit. We’ve been trying to get him to hit the inside of the baseball … he hit it well tonight.”
Just about everyone hit it well for Dixie, which had six different players with at least two hits. Nyberg and Vowell had three each and Connell, Woodland, Staheli and Payden Harrah had two each. Dixie batted .432 in the game, getting 16 hits in 37 at-bats.
Vowell’s homer in the top of the seventh cleared both the inside and outside fence at Warriors Field.
Kaylor Yates got the win in relief for the Flyers, with Nyberg picking up the save with two innings of scoreless pitching to close the game.
Dixie finishes the regular season 14-6 overall and 6-4 in region and is locked into the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. The Flyers will likely go to Stansbury for the first two rounds of the playoffs (the pod hosted by the Region 10 champion). The Stallions have a one-game lead with one game left and play last-place Tooele tonight.
“The real season starts now,” Vowell said. “It’s a good feeling now that we’re in the playoffs. We’ve got a lot of potential on this team and hopefully we can make a deep run in the playoffs — maybe even a state championship. We’ve got a lot of confidence and we’ve got each others’ backs.”
Snow Canyon, 8-15, put itself in a position to grab a playoff spot with a sweep last week against Hurricane. But two losses to Dixie have eliminated the Warriors from the playoff race. Hurricane and Cedar meet Friday afternoon (4 p.m.) with the winner representing Region 9 as the No. 4 seed. The teams play at CHS, with the winner getting a trip to the Juan Diego pod. The Soaring Eagle, 15-4, is the Region 11 champ.
Pine View and Desert Hills also play Friday (7 p.m.) with the winner earning the No. 1 seed and hosting a pod and the loser traveling to Canyon View’s pod. The Falcons won Region 12 and are 16-4 overall.
Region 9 Standings
Pine View 7-2, 15-6
Desert Hills 6-3, 12-11
Dixie 6-4, 14-6
Cedar 3-6, 10-12
Hurricane 3-6, 8-10
Snow Canyon 3-7, 8-15
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