4A state baseball: Snow Canyon beats Dixie 4-2, wins Game 1 behind Kyson Goates, Talan Kelly

WEST JORDAN — An old playoff baseball adage played out at Cate Field at Salt Lake Community College Friday night: good pitching beats good hitting.

Snow Canyon won the opening contest of the 4A state baseball championship 4-2 over Dixie after Warriors pitchers Kyson Goates and Talan Kelly shut down the Flyers potent offense.

“Every inning I just got to go out there and treat it like it’s zero-zero,” Goates told St. George News after tossing five innings to pick up the win. He gave up two runs on six hits, walked two Flyers batters and struck out five.

The senior righthander finished his career at Snow Canyon with a 5-0 career record against crosstown rival Dixie.

“I’ve always been given that opportunity since I was a sophomore to show what I got against them,” Goates said. “Just grinded my way each time, and today I was able to do it again so I was glad I was able to do it.”

Snow Canyon first baseman Andrew Lyon (left) attempts to pick off Dixie’s Ridge Erickson (right) in the 4A state baseball championship, West Jordan, Utah, May 17, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

The Warriors could not have scripted a better pitching performance in the first game of the 4A state championship. 

After Goates put in his five innings of work, Kelly relieved him for the final two innings to earn the save.

“We’ve had good pitching all year,” Kelly said. “We know we’re deep in pitching. To be a part of this, be a big part, coming in after these guys that do their job and having to close it out for us, it’s amazing. There’s no better feeling.”

Kelly’s line was two innings pitched, no hits, no runs, one walk and four strikeouts for the future Utah Tech Trailblazer.

Senior Makaio Swensen greeted Dixie starting pitcher Braxton Yates with a leadoff double on the first pitch of the game.

Senior Crew Secrist plated Swensen with a two-out RBI double and Snow Canyon took a quick 1-0 advantage.

Snow Canyon senior Crew Secrist smacks an RBI double against Dixie in the 4A state baseball championship, West Jordan, Utah, May 17, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Secrist beat out an infield single for an RBI and Hayden Smith smacked an RBI single for a 3-0 Snow Canyon lead in the top of the third.

Dixie came right back in the bottom of the frame when Yates made Goates pay for his one mistake of the night. 

Yates crushed a 2-run homer over the right field fence and Dixie was back in the game, down 3-2.

Ledger Shipp hit an RBI single for the Warriors in the top of the sixth and the two-run cushion was all Kelly needed to secure the save.

Yates took the hard-luck loss on the hill for Dixie, putting in 5.1 innings of work. He was tagged for four runs on seven hits. He walked four Warriors and struck out four more.

The teams played a crisp ballgame with no errors and combined for 13 hits.

Goates compares his game with that of his hero Greg Maddux. The Hall of Fame pitcher made a career out of changing speeds and locating his fastball, and Goates follows that same approach.

Snow Canyon pitcher Kyson Goates delivers against Snow Canyon in the 4A state baseball championship, West Jordan, Utah, May 17, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“Once I get to the MLB I’ll probably throw that number on for sure,” Goates said. “I’ve always preached Greg Maddux and I’ve always just said it doesn’t matter how hard you throw a ball.”

Kelly faced his biggest challenge of the night in the bottom of the sixth. The Flyers had two runners aboard and BYU-bound catcher Ridge Erickson stood at the plate.

Erickson worked the count full before striking out on a pitch in the dirt.

“Ridge is a great hitter, definitely a tough out all the time to get,” Kelly said. “It was a huge one for us.”

Kelly and all of the Warriors seniors were just freshmen three years ago when Snow Canyon last won the 4A state championship, and they did it at Cate Field.

They will look to repeat that history tomorrow in Game 2 at 11 a.m. If Dixie wins that contest, the decisive “if necessary” third game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Follow St. George News Sports for complete coverage and watch the stream of the game at The Fan Sports Network.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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