ST. GEORGE – Friday’s action on the diamonds had more twists and turns than a Disney rollercoaster as Region 9 teams looked to test out pitchers, work out lineup kinks and solidify batting orders in advance of the regular season.
All-totaled, Region 9 teams played 10 games, capturing wins in four of those contests. Desert Hills won on a walk-off walk, Dixie got a win on a walk-off home run, Snow Canyon mercy-ruled one of its opponents and Cedar grabbed an impressive road win. Pine View and Hurricane, meanwhile, dropped two games on Friday.
Here’s a look at the action:
Desert Hills 3, Westlake 2
Sophomore Bronson Andrus watched most of the game from the dugout. But with the win on the line, DH coach Chris Allred let Andrus take his second at-bat of the game. The youngster never got the bat off his shoulder, watching three straight balls, then a called strike, then the game-ending ball four that forced home Seth Betts.
“I didn’t feel like we played particularly well, but we kept grinding, grinding, grinding,” Allred said. “We were able to get the run to tie it up, and then push the game-winner across. It’s not very often you win a game on a walk.”
Westlake pitcher Bryson Van Sickle did keep the Thunder hitters off balance, although DH did record seven hits. But it looked like the Thunder might drop their second straight game when the WHS Thunder went up 2-1 on a sacrifice fly by Kyler Fisher in the top of the sixth. It was an unearned run off Desert Hills reliever Trey Winget, but put WHS ahead by a run nevertheless.
Quinn Kiser opened the bottom of the sixth with a walk, but the rally looked dead in the water after the lefty Van Sickle retired the next two DH batters. The first was Andrus, who sacrificed Kiser to second. Then, with two outs, Trey Allred scorched a 1-2 pitch in the hole on the left side. Kiser scored easily on the play to tie the game at 2-2.
In the bottom of the seventh, Betts led off with a walk and went to second on a single by Sam Rhoton. Chad Nelson laid down a sac bunt to move the runners to second and third, prompting Westlake to walk Drew Thorpe intentionally to set up a potential double play.
That’s when Andrus stepped up and earned the RBI walk, pushing the Thunder to 5-1 on the season.
“We come to play, that’s our strength,” said Winget, who got the win by allowing no earned runs in two innings of relief. “We feel good, our chemistry’s good, our coaching staff’s the best its ever been. They get us really prepared for every single game, every single at bat.”
The Thunder’s first run, which came in the first inning, was a thing of beauty, Winget was hit by a pitch, stole second and then stole third. He then sprinted home on a sacrifice fly by Betts.
Westlake tied it in the top of the third off starter Nelson, who pitched well. Nelson allowed just three hits and one earned run in five innings of work on the mound.
The DH Thunder had seven hits and six walks, but left seven men on base and also committed four errors.
Desert Hills plays at 1:15 Saturday against Murray, which is 2-0 in the Summit Invitational. A win would put the Thunder into the tourney’s championship game at 8 p.m.
Dixie 14, Skyridge 13
Fremont 8, Dixie 6
The Flyers continue to mash the baseball, collecting 20 hits in the 14 innings of baseball Friday. But a lapse in pitching and fielding in one inning in the late game cost Dixie a chance at two Friday wins.
In the first game, Skyridge had leads of 5-0, 10-5 and 13-9. But each time the Falcons rushed ahead, the Flyers would come rallying back.
“It was a crazy game, but we kind of felt like we were never out of it,” Dixie coach Danny Ipson said. “They would score, we would answer it. We felt comfortable due to the fact that we were the home team and we liked the guys that were coming up in the seventh inning. We felt confident that we’d make that run.”
The “run” was a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh. And it all came to a head when Tyson Fisher parked an 0-2 pitch over the left field fence for a walk-off win.
Fisher’s heroics came thanks to the table setting of his teammates. Cooper Vest led off with a walk and, one out later, Dixie had runners on second and third after a double by Reggie Graff. Hobbs Nyberg then singled to right to bring home Vest and make it 13-10.
Dayton Dempsey then drew a walk, with Graff scoring on a wild ball four to make it 13-11. With Dempsey on third and the speedy Nyberg on second, Fisher stepped up needing just a single to perhaps tie the game.
He took the first pitch, a called strike. Fisher then took a big cut at the second pitch … and missed, making it 0-2. The big guy then shortened his swing to protect the strike zone, but still managed to muscle an 0-2 slider over the left field fence to end the game.
“Started out 0-2, so I had to protect a little,” Fisher said. “I was just looking for a ball up and in that I could drive and that’s what I got. I didn’t get all of it, but I still knew it was gone when I hit it. It felt pretty good.”
Nyberg had four hits in that first game, two of those triples. Kayler Yates had a pair of hits, including a double. Dixie had 12 hits as a team and seven of those were for extra bases. Dempsey homered early in the game.
For awhile, it looked like the Flyers would finish the day right, as well. Dixie led Fremont 5-1 in the nightcap, with Fisher cruising along on the mound. But the junior seemed to tire in the top of the sixth, having thrown 89 pitches. He left with a 5-1 lead, but the bases full of Silverwolves after a double and two walks.
It was all bad news after that as the Dixie defense committed an error and the relievers uncorked several wild pitches. By the time the dust had cleared, Fremont had scored seven runs and turned a 5-1 deficit into an 8-5 lead.
Dixie scored a run in the sixth on an RBI double by Nyberg to make it 8-6, but the Flyers left two men on in the bottom of the seventh and came up just short. FHS shortstop Brett Hancock made a dandy play on a hard grounder up the middle to throw out Chase Lundin for the final out of the game.
Dixie, 5-1, plays Wasatch at 1 p.m. Saturday on Flyer Field and then will likely play in a third-place game immediately following.
One note, Nyberg has hit safely in all six of Dixie’s game and the junior second baseman is hitting an amazing .579 so far this season (11 for 19) with three doubles, three triples and a home run. That puts his slugging percentage at 1.211.
Snow Canyon 12, Provo 0
Skyline 8, Snow Canyon 5
Davis Rigby and Austin Deming each drove home four runs as Snow Canyon started the game with an amazing nine-run first inning. The Warriors brought 13 men to the plate in the frame, rapping out five hits and drawing three walks and a hit batsman.
Rigby doubled home Jamison Day with the first run, then came around later in the inning to triple home three more runs.
Deming’s big rip was a homer in the bottom of the third. Parker Ence had doubled and Day got on board by being hit by a pitch, With two outs, Deming stepped up and hit the first pitch he saw over the center field fence to make it 12-0.
Meanwhile, Jed Jensen had everything under control on the mound. He allowed just three hits and no walks in his five inning shutout victory.
Braden Baker also had two hits in the game and Rigby and Day scored three times each.
The nightcap was a bit different for the Warriors, who fell behind 5-0 to the Eagles and never quite recovered. The big problem for SC was defense, with the Warriors kicking it around for eight errors. Snow Canyon actually outhit Skyline, but the Eagles played error free.
SC did make a valiant effort at a comeback. Down 8-2 in the sixth, the Warriors were able to bring three runs home. Austin Deming doubled the first one home, making it 8-3 with one out. Cannon Secrist followed with an RBI single to make it 8-4 and Baker was able to beat out a double play ball to pick up an RBI and make it 8-5.
Snow Canyon got the tying run to the plate with two on in the seventh, but a double play ended the rally and the game.
The Warriors, 3-3, got two hits from Deming, including a solo homer in the fourth inning. SC plays Ridgeline at 1 p.m. Saturday and then will play in a later game, with time and opponent dependent on seeding.
Cedar 14, Payson 7
Drake Lewis and Brandon Johnson both homered in that seventh, with Lewis chasing home three runs and Johnson bringing across two.
Etan Boettcher had a triple as Cedar never trailed after opening the game on the road with a four-run rally in the top of the first.
It was 8-5 for the Redmen heading into the seventh when they hit their stride and put the game away.
Cedar next plays Thursday at home against Timpanogas with first pitch at 4 p.m.
Spanish Fork 9, Pine View 1
American Fork 4, Pine View 1
There’s no doubt the competition at the Red Rock Classic is topnotch. The Panthers, who came into the tourney averaging more than 11 runs a game, have managed just three runs in three games, all losses, in the tournament.
Friday, it was 4A power Spanish Fork and 5A defending state champ American Fork that quieted the Panther bats.
Against the Dons, PV starter Cooper Madison got knocked around for eight runs in the first two innings. Pine View also committed two errors early on, with two of the eight runs being unearned.
The Panthers cut it to 8-1 in the top of the third. Kory Taigan got the RBI on a hard grounder to the hole with one out that scored Makai Maclellan. But Spanish Fork pitcher Brock Beckstron got a fly out and a groundout to end the threat.
PV would not score again and the Dons added an insurance run in the fifth to improve their record to 3-0.
In the night game, played at Pine View High, Jagun Leavitt pitched pretty well, holding the Cavemen to just a single run through three innings. He also stepped up with an RBI single in the bottom of the third that tied the game at 1-1.
AF plated the eventual game-winning run in the top of the fourth and added a couple of insurance runs in the fifth.
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, the Panthers loaded the bases with a chance to take the lead with no one out. But a pair of strikeouts kept the Panthers off the board.
Pine View, 4-3, plays Timpanogas, the defending 4A champion, Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bruce Hurst Field. The Panthers will also play a consolation game later in the evening.
Woods Cross 17, Hurricane 5
Mountain View, 7, Hurricane 4
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.