Prep baseball: Fired up Redmen shock Desert Hills

File photo from Desert Hills vs. Cedar, Baseball, May 2, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – The Cedar Redmen, previously winless in region play, stunned the Desert Hills Thunder Thursday afternoon, 8-5, in a crazy come-from-behind victory that kept playoff hopes alive for CHS.

It’s been a rough go of things in Region 9 play for Cedar, which started 0-5 with the average score being 10-5 over those five contests. So no one could have blamed the Redmen faithful if they looked at the start of Thursday’s game vs. first-place Desert Hills and assumed another loss was on the way.

But then something magical happened.

Down 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, CHS sophomore Bridger Bunnell stepped to the plate and rocketed a line drive home run over the left field fence. It was the start of something big.

“Our kids believe in themselves,” Cedar coach Eric Fieldsted said. “When Bridger hit that home run, it absolutely fired us up. We thought, if our sophomore can do it, why not the rest of us?”

A one-out error was followed by an RBI double by Drake Lewis and it was 4-2.

The Thunder made a pitching change, but it hardly mattered to the now inspired Cedar crew. Jaden Hulet drew a walk to put two men on and then Ben Hulet, who hadn’t hit a homer all season, sent a towering shot deep over the wall in left-center to put the Redmen ahead 5-4.

“No doubt, the wind helped us today,” Fieldsted said. “We’ve been working with Ben on getting a little more lift on his swing and he got a little more lift. He put a charge into that one.”

The Thunder, who took just their second region loss of the year, managed to tie the game with an RBI ground out by Seth Betts in the top of the sixth. But Cedar’s offense was rolling and the Redmen plated three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 8-5. DH had just one base runner in the seventh.

Cedar’s Travis Tait (7), file photo by Robert Hoppie,, St. George News

In that bottom of the sixth, Bunnell again led off, this time drawing a walk off of DH pitcher Drew Thorpe. With one out, Travis Tait hit a deep ball to center for a double to put runners at second and third. Drake Lewis popped out and it looked like Thorpe and DH may get out of the jam.

The next batter, Jaden Hulet, walked to load the bases with two down and up stepped Ben Hulet again. This time, Thorpe got him to hit a sharp grounder to second. It was fielded by Betts, but he stumbled as he pivoted to throw. From the ground, he tossed it to first anyway and the wild throw got past the first baseman, allowing two runs to score. Markus Johnson’s hot shot to third base brought home the final run of the game.

“The ball rolled our way today, and that hasn’t happened a lot this year,” Fieldsted said. “But the big thing is the kids believed in themselves. Everybody contributed. Guys were making plays in the field and swinging the bat.”

Jaden Hulet, who has been battling arm issues, pitched the first three innings. Bunnell came in and finished the game, earning the win.

Trey Winget homered in the first inning for Desert Hills as the Thunder got two in the first and one each in the third and fifth for that 4-0 lead.

Cedar, which improved to 1-5 in region and 6-9 overall with the home win, had eight hits and two errors in the game.

“Our playoffs started today,” Fieldsted said. “Every game is a playoff game for us the rest of the way, and we’re facing the toughest competition we’re going to face. But our backs are to the wall. Hopefully this win spurs us on.”

Desert Hills, 4-2 and 14-4, had 10 hits, but also committed three errors in the game.

Cedar plays Pine View next week, with a Tuesday game at Panther Field at 7 p.m. and a Friday game at Cedar High at 4 p.m.

The Thunder have a two-game set vs. Snow Canyon, with Tuesday’s game at Warrior Field at 7 p.m. and Friday’s game at Desert Hills at 7 p.m.

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