ST. GEORGE – The weather was gorgeous in southern Utah and the play of most of the teams from down south was just as beautiful on a busy day of baseball in Washington County.
There were four different tournaments going down in the county, with Dixie and Cedar competing in the Donnie Pymm First Pitch Classic, Pine View and Hurricane playing in the Tiger-Panther Classic, Snow Canyon hosting the KJ Harrison Memorial Classic and Desert Hills hosting the Summit Athletic Club Invitational.
All totaled, Region 9 teams played nine games, coming out victorious in seven of the contests. Pine View got two victories, while Cedar and Hurricane each got splits in their non-region contests, and Dixie, Desert Hills and Snow Canyon each went 1-0 on the second day of the season.
Here’s a rundown of the day, starting with the Warriors’ close win against 5A Lehi:
Snow Canyon 5, Lehi 4
Things looked really bleak for the Warriors and starting pitcher Breck Eichelberger in the first inning of the game. Eichelberger had given up a three-run home run to Pioneers slugger Devin Smith and his infield was adding to the chaos by committing two straight errors after Smith’s homer.
“I started out slow, some stuff got away from us in the first,” Eichelberger said. “But after that it was just solid. I felt like I got stronger as the game went on.”
Indeed, Eichelberger wriggled out of the jam to close out the first, then gave up just one run the rest of the game to record the complete-game victory.
“After losing last night and then being down three runs right away, it was tough,” SC coach Reed Secrist said. “Credit Breck for staying in there and battling and going all seven. We’re going to need him this year and he knows that. Tonight showed the hard work he’s put in and the improvement he’s made.”
Snow Canyon did well to respond right away, with Austin Deming knocking home a run in the bottom of the first and Seth Smith scoring on a wild pitch in the second inning.
Lehi pushed the lead back out to two at 4-2 on an RBI by Zack Bingham in the third, but the Warriors tied the game up in the bottom of the third when Jed Jensen singled home a pair of runs on a 3-2, two-out pitch with two on. His two-run single made it 4-4 and the score would stay tied until the fifth.
Day singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth, then stole second with two outs. Cannon Secrist moved him to third on a single, then Day raced home on a wild pitch to give the Warriors their first lead of the game.
Lehi threatened in the seventh after the Warriors dropped an infield fly with one out. Eichelberger uncorked a wild pitch to move Jason James to second base, then walked Smith to put two on with one out. But Eichelberger induced a fielder’s choice for the second out and struck out Bingham to end the game.
“There were things that we did right tonight, and things that we did wrong,” Coach Secrist said. “I was happy with the way we battled back. We did nothing right the first game. So if we can continue to progress and learn, we’re going to be solid.”
The Warriors play Syracuse at 1 p.m. Saturday and will then either play at 4 or 7 in the final game of the tournament, depending on results and seeding.
Pine View 5, Granger 3
Pine View 14, Union 0
In the early game against the Lancers, Pine View rushed out to a 5-0 lead, but had to hang on for dear life in the sixth as Granger rallied for three runs and had the tying runners on base. The game was called after six innings due to time limits in the tourney.
Cooper Madison was cruising through the first five innings with a two-hit shutout. Jagun Leavitt provided a large portion of the offense with three hits, a single, a double and a triple. Leavitt’s double in the bottom of the fifth helped bring home two runs and pushed Pine View’s lead to that five-run advantage.
But Madison got himself in trouble in the top of the sixth by issuing three straight one-out walks. PV coach Troy Wall made the move to the bullpen and Granger’s Matt Lindsey greeted Panther reliever Tanner Staheli with a two-run single to make it 5-2. The next batter hit a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3, but Staheli got out of the inning by fanning the Granger batter for the third out.
Kory Taigen homered earlier in the game and Pine View played error free in the game to secure the victory.
The Panthers then blasted Union in the late game at Panther Field. Ryke Erikson, Makai McClellan and Dawson Staheli all doubled in the game and the Panthers racked up 10 hits and 11 RBIs. Erikson had four of those RBIs, three coming on his double in the top of the fourth.
Pine View scored two in the first, four in the third and eight in the fourth innings. The game was called after five due to the mercy rule.
Tanner Staheli and Taigan combined on the two-hit shutout for Pine View, striking out six and walking three. Dawson Staheli, Leavitt and Erikson each had two hits.
The Panthers will likely play in the 6 p.m. Tiger-Panther Classic championship game Saturday, though tiebreakers could put Moapa Valley in the title game. The Pirates play Granger Saturday morning. If Granger scores three runs or more or beats Moapa Valley, then Pine View is in the title game. Otherwise, PV would play earlier in the day.
Dixie 15, Mountain Crest 5
Cooper Vest got the win in his debut on the mound for Dixie, though he had plenty of support, with Tyson Fisher and Payden Harrah ripping three hits each and Hobbs Nyberg and Dayton Depmsey recording two base-knocks.
Dixie led the game 5-0 after just one inning as the Flyers opened their half of the first with four straight hits. Nyberg doubled and went to third on a Dempsey single. Fisher then doubled home Nyberg and Dempsey scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. Wyatt Woodland then singled to score Fisher. Later in the inning, the Flyers got two more runs on back-to-back bases loaded hit batsmen.
The score went to 7-0 on Dempsey’s two-run triple in the third, but Mt. Crest rallied in the top of the fifth and closed to within 8-5, chasing Vest from the game.
However, Dixie responded with three in the fifth and four in the sixth to invoke the mercy rule and end the game. Fisher, who scored three times in the contest, came across the dish with the game-ending run off a Harrah single. Fisher had three doubles and had a slugging percentage of 1.500 in the game.
The Flyers will play in the championship game of the Donnie Pymm Classic at 7 p.m. Saturday against Bear River at Flyer Field. The Bears are also 3-0 after beating Box Elder, Juab and Cedar.
Desert Hills 11, Judge Memorial 4
Quinn Kiser tripled in the contest and DH got two doubles from Seth Betts and a two-bagger each from Chad Nelson and Sam Rhoton.
Betts finished with three hits and five total bases for the Thunder, who seized the lead with a five-run third inning.
Betts started it off with a walk and Kiser tripled him home to make it 1-0. Kiser scored on an error to make it 2-0 and, after a couple of one-out walks, Nelson doubled home two runs to make it 4-0. Rhoton later scored on a grounder by Mason Creager.
The Thunder added four more in the fifth on a two-run single by Drew Thorpe and an RBI double by Betts, plus an RBI groundout by Kiser.
Betts and Creager had RBIs in the sixth to make it 11-0 before Judge made it respectable with a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth. Dillan Gubler pitched the seventh, the fifth pitcher of the game for DH, and held Judge scoreless in the final frame.
The Thunder, 2-0, play Stansbury at 11 a.m. at DHHS Saturday and can advance to the championship game Saturday night with a win over the Stallions.
Hurricane 14, South Sevier 4
Sky View 6, Hurricane 5
Rylee Kent and Alec Flemetakis each doubled and Tobie Swenson had two hits as the Tigers scored in every inning of the game. Flemetakis and Lacy each had an RBI in a six-run first for Hurricane.
South Sevier rallied for four runs in the top of the second to pull within 6-4, but the Tigers scored a run in the second, a run in the third and four in the fourth to make it 12-4. In the bottom of the fifth, Lacy had a no out single to bring home Drew Hermansen and make it 13-4 and then Flemetakis hit a sac fly with one out to bring home Kent and end the game. Flemetakis got the win on the mound.
In the later game, Nick Horsley and Kolby Heaton had two hits each as Hurricane built a 5-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth. But the Bobcats touched reliever Logan Campbell for two runs in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-4 and added one more in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game with nobody out and the bases loaded.
Sky View then drew a walk to force home the winning run and end the time-constrained game.
Heaton had a triple and Horsley and Brock Starley each doubled for the Tigers, who are 1-2 on the young season. Horsely pitched four innings and struck out nine Sky View batters in his first start of the year.
Cedar 13, Box Elder 7
Bear River 5, Cedar 1
The Redmen scored all 13 runs in the first three innings against the Bees, but couldn’t quite invoke the mercy rule. Trailing 13-3, Box Elder scored a run in the fourth to avoid the shortened game and then brought home three in the seventh to make the game look a little closer than it was.
Junior Chase Houston scored three three runs for Cedar in the game, with Markus Johnson socking a three-run triple and Ethan Boetcher and Brandon Johnson tripling as well.
Brock Bleak pitched six innings and got the win, allowing five hits and striking out five.
In the early game, Bears pitcher Jake Dahl allowed just five hits and one run to Cedar in five innings of work. Hunter Johnson pitched two innings of scoreless relief to close the game.
Ben Hulet had three of the Redmen’s six hits in the game, and he also stole a base. Bear River scored two in the second and three in the fourth to grab a 5-0 lead. Cedar’s lone run came in the fifth on a sac fly by Drake Lewis. Sophomore Bridger Bunnell took the loss, though he pitched a complete game and only allowed five hits.
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