ST. GEORGE – Opening day in prep baseball was a mixed bag for southern Utah teams. Pine View, Dixie and Desert Hills, the top three teams from last year in Region 9, looked sharp to start the season. But Cedar, Hurricane and Snow Canyon struggled to open things up.
The first day did feature a lot of intrigue, with a no hitter, a 20-run game and a nailbiter finish, among other fascinating results. Here’s a look at the action:
Desert Hills 4, Copper Hills 3
“For some reason, I was extremely nervous,” said Allred, who last coached four years ago, leading the Desert Hills girls basketball team to the 2013 state 3A championship. “I don’t know why, but I was much more nervous than I ever was coaching before.”
Allred has been an assistant under coach Jerry Beck the past three seasons, but takes over the head coaching job for the 2017 season and beyond.
“I was really sad to see Jerry step down. He was a great coach,” Allred said. “But we have a great coaching staff. These guys make it so my job is easy.”
The Thunder and Grizzlies played at a pretty high level, considering it was the first game of the year. It was not a perfect outing, by any means, but each team committed just one error on defense. Both teams did have base-running miscues. In fact, DH had four runners thrown out trying to steal.
“Those were mistakes, but not bad ones because they were being aggressive,” Allred said. “I’d rather have those kind of mistakes than guys being passive and sitting on the bases.”
Ekins struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits, but an error opened the door for two runs to cross the plate in the top of the fourth, putting the Grizzlies ahead 2-0.
“I felt pretty good out there, it was a good start,” Ekins said. “I got myself in trouble by getting behind in counts later in the game.”
The Thunder answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Konner Blomquist hustled up the line and reached on an error to bring home Drew Thorpe and make it 2-1. Mason Creager then laced a double to right field to score Landon Levine and Blomquist to make it 3-2.
“I was just looking for a fastball, something I could drive,” Creager said. “I got one and made good contact.”
Copper Hills tied the game in the top of the fifth on an RBI by Jay Laird. But Desert Hills took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning. Sam Rhoton and Chad Nelson both hit two-out singles. Thorpe then lined a single to center field to bring home Rhoton with the go-ahead run, making it 4-3.
Winget then entered to pitch the final two innings. He struck out four and allowed two walks to record the save.
The Thunder host Judge Memorial at 7 p.m. Friday night to continue the Summit Invitational.
Pine View 20, Hunter 3
“We really hit the ball well up and down the lineup,” said PV coach Troy Wall. “I thought Dawson Staheli had a good at-bat every time up. Erik Sanchez hit it hard as well.”
Pine View had 13 hits, and also took advantage of five Hunter errors. The one thing the Panthers didn’t have was home runs.
“We got what we wanted out of this game,” Wall said. “We weren’t trying to hit home runs. We just want the guys to hit the ball hard – line drives. We did that.”
Staheli had a pair of doubles and four runs batted in, while Sanchez had three hits and also recorded four RBIs. One of those hits, recorded as an inside-the-park home run, probably could have been scored a hit and an error as the Hunter outfielder overran the ball. Regardless, the Panthers definitely made a statement.
“A lot of people are underestimating us now that all our big guns are gone,” Sanchez said. “But we have a lot of starters back from last year and I think we’re just as good as we were last year.”
Hunter actually started with a 1-0 lead a half-inning into the contest. But a bases loaded walk tied the game with one out in the bottom of the first. That was just the beginning of a big inning as Sanchez singled home two runs to make it 3-1. Moments later, Ryker Erikson sacrificed a runner home and then Staheli hit the first of his two doubles to make it 7-1.
The Wolverines cut it to 7-2 momentarily, but the wheels started to come off for Hunter in the bottom of the second as HHS committed three of its five errors in that frame. It was 14-3 in the bottom of the third when Sanchez got his ITP homer as the lead grew to 20-3. Hunter went down quickly in the fourth to PV pitcher Weston Cottom and the game was mercifully called.
“These kids are hard-nosed and do exactly what we ask them to do,” Wall said. “If we can stay healthy this year, I like our chances.”
Pine View plays Granger at 6 p.m. and Union at 8:30 p.m. Friday night in continuing the Tiger-Panther Classic.
Dixie 6, Payson 1
Dixie 8, Carbon 0
Dayton Dempsey, Kayler Yates and Ajay Leavitt combined on a two hit gem in the early win vs. Payson, but Tyson Fisher stole the spotlight in the later game, throwing seven innings of near-perfect, no-hit baseball.
Fisher, a junior, struck out 11 and walked just one Dino batter. He threw an amazing 60 strikes on 78 pitches. Fisher retired the first 11 batters he faced, walked a Carbon hitter on four pitches, then retired the next 10 batters in a row, including two strikeouts to close out the game in the seventh.
The big right-hander also delivered a two-run home run in the bottom of the third against Carbon. He and his teammates had 11 hits, including doubles by Trey Johnson, Hobbs Nyberg and Wyatt Woodland and a two-run single by Chase Lundin that started the scoring in the bottom of the second. Yates had three of the 11 hits and Cooper Vest had two base-knocks.
In the win over Payson, Dempsey allowed one unearned run in four innings of work. Relievers Yates and Leavitt allowed no hits and just one walk in the final three innings.
Payson scored in the first inning after a two-base Dixie error. But Dixie came back with two runs in the bottom of the second. Nyberg tied it at 1-1 with an RBI single and Lundin came in moments later on a Payson error to make it 2-1.
The Flyers pushed the lead to 5-1 in the fourth. Nyberg hit a two-out solo homer, then Wyatt Woodland doubled in a pair of runs after a couple of Payson walks. Demspey singled home an insurance run in the fifth.
Dixie next plays Mountain Crest at 7 p.m. Friday night at Flyer Field in continuing the Donnie Pymm First Pitch Classic.
Cimarron (Nev.) 7, Snow Canyon 3
Cannon Secrist took the loss on the mound. He allowed just five hits, but struggled with control, giving up seven walks in five innings of work. Secrist did have a big moment in the bottom of the fourth. After giving up four runs in the top of the inning, he was able to slice the 4-0 deficit in half with a sharp single to center field with the bases loaded.
But Cimarron matched those two runs with two of its own in the top of the fifth and coasted home from there on the arm of pitcher Cody Koslowski.
Austin Deming and Tanner Howell had the other two hits for SC, which will battle Lehi at 8 p.m. Friday night in continuing the Harrison Classic.
Park City 7, Hurricane 5
And it looked promising for Hurricane after the Tigers extended the lead to 4-1 for relief pitcher Michael Lacy in the bottom of the fourth. But the Miners started to swing it after that, scoring two in the fifth and four in the sixth to take a 7-4 lead.
Hurricane managed to cut it to 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI triple by Logan Campbell. But Park City recorded six straight outs after Campbell’s three-bagger to close out the game.
The Tigers had just four hits in the game, two of those by Noah Humphrey.
Hurricane plays two games Friday: 6 p.m. against South Sevier and 8:30 p.m. against Sky View.
Juab 15, Cedar 1
Cedar led 2-0 after 1 1/2 innings behind the bat of McClain Anderson (two hits). But the Wasps grabbed the lead with four runs in the bottom of the second and then seized control of the game by scoring nine runs in the third inning.
Cedar, 1-1, plays Box Elder at 11:30 a.m. at Hurst Field and then battles Bear River at 4 p.m. at Dixie’s Flyer Field.
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