WEST JORDAN — The Warriors will have to fend off a stampede – their last obstacle to a 4A state baseball title.
No. 2 Snow Canyon will face the No. 5 Mountain Crest Mustangs in a best-of-three series starting Friday at Cate Field on Salt Lake Community College’s West Jordan campus. Mountain Crest, like Snow Canyon, went undefeated through the super regional and double-elimination portions of the tournament including three one-run victories and two 10-run rules. After stunning one Region 9 co-champion in the previous game, the Mustangs will look to do so against the other with the highest of stakes on the line.
Mountain Crest obliterated No. 1 Desert Hills on Wednesday, 13-0, invoking the 10-run mercy rule in the fifth. They quelled a potent Thunder lineup. Starter Jaden Jones allowed only two hits, both singles in the first, before silencing the bats over the final 4.1 innings. It came a day after they bested No. 9 Bear River 9-8 on the strength of a five-run outburst in the third and three runs in the fourth. They outlasted No. 4 Stansbury in a 7-6 win in game one of the West Jordan tournament.
The Mustangs come in as the No. 3 ranked pitching staff in 4A, having allowed only only 109 runs in their 30 games. Only Desert Hills and Snow Canyon were better, with 82 and 80 allowed runs respectively. The Mustangs led Region 11 with 55 runs allowed in 15 region games.
Senior pitchers Braydon Schiess and Lance Welch ranked third and ninth in 4A in ERA. The right-handed Schiess threw a 1.66 over 71.2 innings, and the lefty Welch threw a 1.95 over 61. Throwing from opposite angles will give Snow Canyon a test over the at-least-two-game set. Both have met pitch-count rest requirements and are available for game one.
Mountain Crest also produced 191 runs of offense, good for fifth in the classification. They did so by hitting just one home run by senior Preston Jones on April 20. They scattered the fourth-most hits in the state but were eighth in doubles and tied for seventh in triples. They drew the fifth-most walks.
Dax Roundy hit .462 on the season, fourth best in the state.
The Mustangs are helmed by head coach Stephen Hansen, who is in his 19th season at the lead of the program. A state championship would be the Mustangs’ first since 2009 and third overall.
For Snow Canyon, it comes down to doing the things they’ve done all season. They’re No. 1 in pitching and No. 1 in offense in the state. Ace Carston Herman, after a finish to the regular season that saw him surrender 16 earned runs in 14 innings, got back on track in his lone start of the postseason thus far, holding Dixie to four hits in 4.1 innings on Monday. The senior lefty is the projected starter for Friday.
Isaac Lyon brings in a 1.95 ERA in 36.1 innings. He shut out Ridgeline, the only Region 11 team to finish above Mountain Crest, in a complete game on Tuesday. He’ll be available to pitch on Saturday.
Mason Strong, currently playing through injury, hit .488 on the season to win the classification batting title. His six home runs ranked third, one beyond teammate Landon Frei and two behind Dixie’s Brieten Oaks. As a team, Snow Canyon hit .365 on the season and hit 25 home runs, 13 more than any other 4A club.
The Warriors seek their first state championship as a member of 4A. They last won it all in 2013 and have three rings under head coach Reed Secrist.
First pitch for game one on Friday is at 4 p.m. Game two starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday with game three, if necessary, immediately after.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.