SC’s Eichelberger shuts out Falcons; Cedar stuns Desert Hills

Snow Canyon vs. Canyon View, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Mar. 20, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Snow Canyon ace Breck Eichelberger trumped the Canyon View batters Tuesday night as the Warriors opened region play with a home win. Meanwhile, Desert Hills got trumped itself when Cedar’s Bridger Bunnell shocked the Thunder Field crowd with a five-hit victory. And pitching was the main theme Tuesday as Pine View also captured a region-opening win behind ace hurler Jaiger Crosby.

Here’s a rundown of Region 9’s opening night in southern Utah:

Snow Canyon 6, Canyon View 0

With big names like Fisher, Thorpe and Deming floating around, it’s easy to forget that Breck Eichelberger had a fantastic season last year. The senior, who won seven games and struck out 60 batters in 2017, reminded everyone of how good he is with a two-hit, 12-strikeout performance Tuesday night against the Falcons.

“Definitely dealing,” Snow Canyon coach Reed Secrist said. “He looked great, looked exactly like I think he should be through this whole region. If he can pitch like that for the next couple of months, we’re going to be just fine.”

Snow Canyon’s Breck Eichelberger (19), Snow Canyon vs. Canyon View, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Mar. 20, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Eichelberger, using mostly fastballs and changeups, threw just 79 pitches and had just one walk during his masterpiece.

“My off-speed was working tonight,” Eichelberger said. “That’s pretty much what I worked on all summer. I was able to locate my off-speed and get strikes. I was able to put them where I wanted them.”

It also helped that his team got him a lead early. The Warriors were able to manufacture a couple of runs in the bottom of the first inning when Seth Smith was hit by a pitch and Austin Deming walked. SC then executed a double steal and the throw to third was wide, allowing Smith to score. Deming then came home on a groundout by Stephen Gubler.

But Trace Harden kept the Falcons close with sharp pitching of his own. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and it was still just a 2-0 game with two outs in the fifth. Harden had wriggled out of trouble most of the game, but Snow Canyon designated hitter Tim Shakespeare finally made him pay.

With the bases loaded, Shakespeare worked the count full and then fouled off two pitches. He finally got around on a fastball and sizzled it to left-center, scoring two runs and making it 4-0.

“I got an inside fastball and just saw it and reacted,” Shakespeare said. “I needed to shorten up. Coach is always getting on us to shorten up our swing. It was a huge moment and brought momentum into our dugout.”

Snow Canyon’s Seth Smith (8), Snow Canyon vs. Canyon View, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Mar. 20, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The next batter, Jed Jensen, then lined a double to the gap to score two more runs and the Warriors were well on their way to a region-opening victory.

After allowing four base runners the first three innings, Eichelberger retired the final 15 batters in a row, including striking out the side in the fifth and sixth innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in three outings this season.

Deming, the BYU signee, was held hitless, though he rarely saw a strike. He drew three walks, stole two bases and scored twice for Snow Canyon, which is 9-0 overall and 1-0 in region.

Joey Lambeth and McCray Webster had the two hits for the Falcons, who fell to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in region. The two teams face off again Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Falcon Field in Cedar City.

Cedar 2, Desert Hills 1

Thunder pitcher Blake Milne was very good Tuesday. But Redmen ace Bridger Bunnell was just a little bit better.

Bunnell struck out seven and allowed just five hits and one run while frustrating the Desert Hills bats in a surprising road win for Cedar.

“You guys saw Bridger Bunnell last year,” Cedar coach Eric Fieldsted said at the Region 9 Media Day. “He’s our ace and we’re going to look to him quite a bit.”

Look to him they did as Bunnell only allowed one Desert Hills base runner past second base. Bronson Andrus was the only run producer for the Thunder. He doubled in the bottom of the second and came around to score on a double steal.

File photo, Cedar’s Bridger Bunnell (16), Dixie vs. Cedar, Baseball, St. George, UT, May 5, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Cedar, meanwhile, struggled with Milne, picking up just seven hits and a walk against the Desert Hills pitcher. But in the top of the fourth, the Redmen got the break they were looking for.

Chase Houston led off by reaching on an error. Markus Johnson followed with a double to put runners at second and third with no outs. After a strikeout, Ethan Boettcher brought Houston home with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-1. Johnson moved to third on the sac fly and came home on a wild pitch moments later, giving Cedar the slim lead.

But Bunnell would make it stand up. He allowed just one base runner in each of the next four innings and ended the game with a swinging strikeout of a DH batter to clinch the upset road win.

Cedar, picked to finish sixth by the coaches and media on Monday, has now won five games in a row and is 5-4 overall. The Redmen split with Desert Hills last season despite going just 7-12 and missing the playoffs. Korby Myers led Cedar offensively with two base hits, including a double. Defensively, Cedar had no errors and turned a big double play in the fifth inning.

Andrus had a pair of hits for Desert Hills, which came into the contest averaging nearly seven runs a game. D-Hills drops to 7-2 overall and 0-1 in region play.

The two teams meet again on Friday with a 4 p.m. game at Cedar High.

Pine View 4, Hurricane 1

Making his first varsity start in region play, Jaiger Crosby was excellent, allowing two hits in six innings in shutting down the Tigers.

Crosby issued four straight two-out walks in the top of the sixth to ruin his shutout, but was otherwise stalwart in his effort on the mound. Maklain Briggs allowed a single base hit in the seventh to get the save for the Panthers, who improved to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in region play with the win.

File photo, Pine View’s Jaiger Crosby (2), Pine View vs. East, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Mar. 15, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Crosby had a no hitter going through 3 1/3 innings before Hurricane’s Kage Akipoleki broke it up with a double. But by then, Pine View had already forged a 3-0 lead.

The scoring came in the bottom of the third. Roman Lafemina hit a one out triple over the center fielder’s head to score Micah Burke and make it 1-0. Cody Riddle’s sacrifice fly brought the speedy Lafemina home to make it 2-0. Tanner Staheli followed with a single and scored on a double by his cousin, Dawson Staheli.

Pine View added to the lead on an RBI by Burke in the bottom of the fourth that brought home Colton Staheli and made it 4-0.

Crosby had it on cruise control and held the shutout until the sixth. With two down, he walked four straight batters, including Isaac Blair, which forced home Hurricane’s only run of the game. A groundout ended the threat and Briggs closed out the seventh.

Lafemina was the only player in the game with more than one hit. He singled and tripled in the contest. Hurricane’s three hits were from Akipoleki, Brian Long and Kyle Stevenson. Pitcher Jagger Hadley allowed just five hits and all four of Pine View’s runs were unearned as the Tigers had three errors in the game.

Pine View and Hurricane (4-5, 0-1) play again Friday at Tiger Field with first pitch at 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s Region 9 results
Snow Canyon 6, Canyon View 0
Cedar 2. Desert Hills 1
Pine View 4, Hurricane 1

Region 9 standings (region, overall)
Snow Canyon  1-0, 9-0
Pine View  1-0, 7-1
Cedar  1-0, 5-4
Dixie  0-0, 10-0
Desert Hills  0-1, 7-2
Canyon View  0-1, 4-2
Hurricane  0-1, 4-5

Upcoming games
Wednesday

Snow Canyon at Canyon View, 4 p.m.

Friday
Desert Hills at Cedar, 4 p.m.
Pine View at Hurricane 7:30 p.m.
Dixie at Cottonwood, 3:30 p.m.
US Bank Spring Dust Off (all games at Snow Canyon)
Canyon View vs. Salem Hills, 9 a.m.
Canyon View vs. Shadow Ridge (Nev.), 11:30 a.m.
Snow Canyon vs. Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon vs. Springville, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday
Dixie at Timpanogas, 10 a.m.
Dixie vs. Copper Hills (@ Timpanogas High), 3:30 p.m.
US Bank Spring Dust Off (all games at Snow Canyon)
Canyon View vs. Springville, 11 a.m.
Snow Canyon vs. Shadow Ridge (Nev.), 1 p.m.
Championship and third-place times/teams tbd

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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