Region 9 baseball: A final-day upset leads to co-championship for Warriors, Thunder

Snow Canyon baseball's Sam Lindsey (13) crosses home after hitting a homer in the team's win over Dixie, Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — It took until the closing moments of Thursday night for the champions of Region 9 baseball to be revealed. But, almost simultaneously, the three teams that entered the regular season finale knotted for first place saw their respective games go final. After the dust settled, Snow Canyon and Desert Hills emerged as co-champions.

Snow Canyon Dixie baseball at Snow Canyon, Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, May 6, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Earlier in the night, it seemed that those two, in addition to Pine View, were primed to hold their ground in the race to the finish. Pine View was taking on a Canyon View team that they had handled easily earlier in the week. Desert Hills had quelled Crimson Cliffs on Tuesday before game two. Snow Canyon had lost to Dixie in game one but were returning to their home turf with their ace on the mound.

A few innings into the night, it seemed Desert Hills was in biggest jeopardy of falling out of the pack. Snow Canyon was up 6-1 at the end of three and Pine View was up 4-0 at the end of the fourth. The Thunder, meanwhile, while gridlocked with the Mustangs, 2-2.

Fast forward a bit, and the Warriors had expanded their lead to 10-4 while the other scores held. Entering the seventh inning, the Panthers had a secure five-run lead over the Falcons while Desert Hills and Crimson were still tied. But things quickly began to change.

The Falcons, in their final regular season game as members of Region 9, rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to take a one-run lead. Moments after Traton Staheli struck out in the bottom of the inning to end the game, Landon Frei hit a walk-off, three-run homer at Snow Canyon to punch the Warriors’ regional title ticket. As that developed, Desert Hills pulled away in the top of the seventh from the Mustangs.

Snow Canyon baseball at Dixie, Dixie High School, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

All at once, the story of the regional crown was written across the St. George area.

Here are the recaps from the final series of Region 9 baseball this season, along with the final standings. RPI rankings and playoff seeding will be announced on Saturday morning:

Snow Canyon clinches share of crown after split with Dixie

Tuesday: Dixie 4, Snow Canyon 0

Thursday: Snow Canyon 18, Dixie 7

One person is responsible for Thursday’s theatrics: Dixie’s Malcolm Bartholomew. The lanky lefty started for the Flyers on Tuesday, quelling the Warriors lineup and preventing them from holding sole possession of first place entering the final day.

Bartholomew struck out only five in the first six innings of the game before striking out the side in the top of the seventh on 10 pitches to secure the win. He got 12 fly-ball outs to just one ground out.

Meanwhile, the Flyers broke through with four consecutive ground ball singles in the fourth after a Brieten Oaks double. The rally resulted in three runs.

Snow Canyon baseball at Dixie, Dixie High School, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

St. George News covered this game in greater depth in this story.

The shocking Warriors loss dragged them down into the tie with the Thunder and Panthers and made the win on Thursday all the more essential.

After Dixie scored first in the top of the second on a Jaxon Mackelprang single, the Warriors responded with three runs in the bottom half. Mayze Mosher hit a leadoff homer before a cut on Dixie starter GJ Erickson’s pitching hand led to control issues. Erickson issued a walk before hitting a batter two at-bats later to force in a run and was removed from the game.

Reliever Cayson Bell plunked Luke Anderson two batters later to score the third run.

Bell’s control issues lingered in the third as well, issuing three walks and plunking two more. Luis Acuna came in and walked in another run before escaping more damage, making the score 6-0.

The Flyers got within two in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Erickson and an RBI groundout by Acuna but watched Snow Canyon pile on four more in the bottom half. Another three-run inning in the fifth was squashed by an eight-spot by the Warriors, culminating in a three-run, walk-off homer by Landon Frei to center.

The Warriors had twice as many runs as hits. They drew 11 walks and were hit by three pitches. Sam Lindsey went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, including a homer and a double. Mosher also had two hits.

Ace Carston Herman gave up seven runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts in four innings. Anderson struck out a pair in his inning of relief.

Brieten Oaks hit a pair of doubles. Jacob St. Cyr went 2-for-3 with a home run for the Flyers. They went through five pitchers in the game.

Desert Hills sweep of Crimson Cliffs earns Thunder co-championship

Tuesday: Desert Hills 7, Crimson Cliffs 2

Thursday: Desert Hills 5, Crimson Cliffs 2

Desert Hills fended off Crimson Cliffs with solid pitching twice to earn their half of the crown.

Crimson Cliffs baseball at Desert Hills, Desert Hills High School, St. George, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

On Tuesday, Kaden Terry allowed two runs in the top of the first but kept the Mustangs from crossing the plate in the final six innings. Meanwhile, the offense put together three-run efforts in both the first and third innings to carry the Thunder to a win.

Terry allowed singles to the first two hitters of the game, Logan West and Tate Maynard. West was picked off and Trey Evans struck out to make it appear that Terry was going to escape without allowing any damage. However, a walk to Jayz Estridge and an error allowed two runs to score, both unearned.

Cole DeCastro singled to start the game off for Desert Hills. After a pair of strikeouts, Reggie Newby and Chandler Reber hit back-to-back singles to tie the game. Reber eventually stole home to give Desert Hills a lead it would carry through the rest of the game. 

Newby scored a pair of runs and Joey Brooks drove in a pair with a double, the only of the Thunder’s five hits to go for extra bases.

Terry finished with 10 strikeouts to just two walks.

For Crimson, West had the game’s only multi-hit effort. Evans had a double, the team’s only extra-base knock. Brexten Starley struck out four but also walked four and allowed all five hits, culminating in all seven runs in his 3.2 innings of work. Aaron Morris finished the final 2.1 innings with four strikeouts and one walk.

On Thursday, Crimson jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but watched the bats go cold again.

Starley and Maynard hit back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the second, coming around to score on an error and a Matt Hafen single. The lead that rally built lasted until the fifth.

Desert Hills scored on an RBI groundout by Eric Olsen in the fourth and knotted it on a Reber RBI triple in the fifth.

The game entered the seventh tied at two before Desert Hills rallied for four singles and a pair of walks for four runs. Crimson had one runner reach in response in the bottom of the seventh on a dropped third strike but did not advance him any further than first base and took the loss.

Payton Gubler struck out 15 Mustangs in 6.2 innings, leaving the last strikeout to Newby in relief to close the game. Gubler allowed only four hits, all singles, and issued two walks.

Offensively, Jackson Turley collected three hits. Both Brooks and Olsen had two RBIs.

Jaiven Ross tossed six innings to keep the Mustangs in the game. He allowed the first two runs before hitting his pitch count at the end of the sixth. He struck out five.

Crimson recorded only four hits and the top four hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-13 with 10 strikeouts.

Last-inning Canyon View rally earns split with Pine View

Tuesday: Pine View 15, Canyon View 6

Thursday: Canyon View 6, Pine View 5

The Falcons pulled off a five-run, two-out rally in the top of the seventh in game two to avoid a sweep and crush Pine View’s Region 9 title hopes.

Pine View baseball at Canyon View, Cedar City, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Game one was close for the majority of the game until an eight-run explosion in the top of the seventh by the Panthers.

Pine View jumped out to a 4-1 lead after three innings only to see the score knotted at five after the fourth following a Falcons rally. Pine View padded runs in the fifth and sixth to reclaim the lead before cementing the victory in the final inning.

The Panthers scored in every inning in the win.

Luke Iverson and Brock Roundy each had four hits and five Panthers had multiple. Iverson and Hunter Stubbs each hit homers. Stubbs drove in a game-leading three runs.

Roundy also struck out 10 in five innings to earn the win on the mound. He allowed seven hits and four of his five total runs allowed were unearned. Brandon Roundy threw a scoreless sixth inning and Ethan Duncan allowed a run on a hit in the seventh.

Kody Callison was the only Falcon with multiple hits and had a double. Cameron Calvez went 1-for-1 with two walks and three RBIs.

Game two would also be decided in the final inning.

Pine View got a fantastic start from Traton Staheli, who struck out 13 in six innings while allowing just one run. When he exited, Pine View had a 5-1 lead. Denim Pettit had done an alright job keeping Canyon View in the game, allowing nine hits over his six innings of work but turning it into five runs. The Falcons just weren’t hitting. That is, until they got to two outs in the seventh.

Cade Iverson came in to get the final three outs for Pine View with a four-run cushion. He got the first two right out of the gate before Callison singled. Then Iverson plunked Tommy English. Then Chase Calvez walked and so did Cameron Cameron Calvez to bring in the second run of the game for Pine View. Singles by Huston Slack and Brayden Floyd and suddenly Canyon View had their first lead of the game. Iverson got a strikeout to stop the bleeding but the Panthers went down in order in the bottom half against Holden Miller to end the region championship dream.

Callison again had two hits, as did Slack. Brock Roundy went 2-for-4 to lead Pine View.

Reds take definitive sweep of Tigers to close season

Tuesday: Cedar 17, Hurricane 0

Thursday: Cedar 12, Hurricane 4

The Reds finished the season on a high note with two dominant games over the Tigers.

Hurricane baseball at Cedar, Cedar City, Utah, May 4, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

On Tuesday in the home closer, Miles Topham tossed a gem while the offense ran away for a five-inning victory.

Cedar posted two runs in the first, took the second off, then posted seven in the third and eight in the fourth to build out the mercy-rule lead. Meanwhile, Topham allowed just two hits to keep Hurricane off the board.

Kasen Crandall, Brecken Campbell, Topham and Calvin Slack each had two hits. Crandall hit a homer and drove in four runs. Lawson Black scored three runs from the leadoff spot.

On the mound, Topham struck out eight in five innings. He allowed just two hits, both singles to Tanner Pastor and Asher Christensen.

In Hurricane, the game went the full seven innings. Cedar jumped out to a 9-1 lead after three following a six-run second.

Kolby White struck out a dozen Tigers in five innings, giving up six hits and three runs. Crandall struck out three in the last two innings.

Thomas Carter led the game with three hits for Cedar. The Reds’ No. 2 through No. 5 hitters each had two RBIs apiece.

The Tigers bats were more potent in game two. Christensen, Kel Webb and Jaxon Jones each had two hits. Webb drove in a pair of runs. He also struck out five in four innings of relief.

Region 9 baseball final standings

  1. (tie) Desert Hills 11-3 (21-3)
  2. (tie) Snow Canyon 11-3 (21-4)
  3. Pine View 10-4 (16-5)
  4. Dixie 9-5 (13-10)
  5. Crimson Cliffs 7-7 (14-10)
  6. Cedar 5-9 (8-17)
  7. Canyon View 3-11 (7-17)
  8. Hurricane 0-14 (2-22)

Cedar City News reporter JEFF RICHARDS contributed to this story.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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