WEST JORDAN — After falling in stunning fashion to the No. 9 seed in day one of the 4A state baseball championship rounds in South Jordan yesterday, Desert Hills reeled in their first victory of the tournament on Tuesday. The Thunder shut out No. 5 Stansbury 5-0 on the backs of a Kaden Terry complete game.
Terry dominated on the mound against the Stallions and the lineup backed him early as the RPI-favorites got back on track in their bid for a repeat of the state title.
“It feels good to win one in the bracket,” Desert Hills head coach Kevin Cave said.
Terry retired Stansbury in the top of the first, starting a run of setting down the first Stallions he faced and 15 of the first 17. The lineup backed him up immediately, scoring four times in the bottom of the first after a controversial dropped strike three call.
Jackson Turley reached first base after a strike three swinging. The Stallions started throwing the ball around the infield but the home plate umpire never called Turley out, who sprinted to first and was given the base after never being put out.
Four pitches later, Payton Gubler lined a ball to the left-center fence for a triple, scoring Turley. Gubler scored on a bouncer to third by Reggie Newby, beating the throw home as it tailed away from the catcher. Karson Irvin and Jake Bean hit back-to-back singles with two outs to score the third and fourth runs.
Gubler scored Desert Hills’ fifth run in the third after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. He advanced to second after a pickoff attempt got away from the first baseman and scored after Newby singled into left.
Stansbury starter Colton Sundloff settled down following Newby’s knock and the Stallions didn’t allow another hit in the game.
Meanwhile, Terry kept any Stallions from advancing beyond first base until Tyler Harris stole second in the fifth. Terry struck out nine over the course of the game and allowed only four hits, all singles. He threw 99 pitches, however, opening a new, foreign stage in the tournament for Desert Hills.
Due to pitch count rules, the Thunder will not be permitted to use Terry on the mound until Saturday and Gubler until Friday. The Thunder used no other player as a starting pitcher over the course of their run to a Region 9 co-championship with Snow Canyon. Irvin and Newby started in the preseason but have only been used in relief since.
“This format is really cool,” Cave said. “It’s a true test. You have to play a lot of baseball to win this. Win or lose, I still love the format.”
The Thunder fell 8-6 to No. 9 Bear River on Monday. If the Bears pull off another upset today against No. 5 Mountain Crest, they’ll rematch with Desert Hills again on Thursday at 11 a.m.
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