ST. GEORGE – Teams with 10 wins and 14 losses aren’t supposed to be contenders for championships, but try telling that to the Desert Hills Thunder baseball team that is three wins away from being crowned state champions.
The Thunder lost nine games within Region 9 play, but after two wins on Saturday, May 14, against Bear River High School and Delta High School the Thunder head into their match against Carbon High School on Thursday, May 19, with a chance to bring home the school’s first state championship in any sport.
“We knew we were going to take our lumps early in the year with the goal in mind that we’d be playing our best ball at the end of the year,” Desert Hills coach Jerry Beck said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good position. We realize this time of year anything can happen.”
Beck said one of the things he’s emphasized to the team is that once the playoffs started everybody starts over—everybody is undefeated.
“Throughout the whole we thought we could have done better than we have,” said Darwin Johnson, Desert Hills’ senior pitcher who will be pitching on Thursday against Carbon. “We’re starting to show it. People haven’t believed we can make it this far.”
Johnson said he’s excited for the opportunity to prove people wrong.
Desert Hills will be the unofficial home team during this final week of the 3A state tournament. The games will be played at Bruce Hurst Field on the campus of Dixie State College.
“Our kids have played over at Hurst Field one way or another their whole life,” Beck said. “They are very familiar with Hurst Field and the surroundings. A team like Carbon, I’m sure they’ve never seen the field.”
Beck said he was hoping for more than just the field to provide a home-field advantage for Desert Hills. He said he was hoping for 100-degree weather during the weekend, but the unusually cooler temperatures for St. George have squelched that hope. According to weather.com, the forecast is calling for thunderstorms on Thursday.
While the Thunder are trying to beat the odds this weekend, they aren’t the only Region 9 team competing in the 3A tournament at Dixie State College. The Canyon View Falcons will make their way down from Cedar City to play against Juan Diego on Thursday. Canyon View comes into the tournament with a record of 19-6.
All of the state tournament action starts Thursday morning with the Canyon View game at 11 a.m. Desert Hills takes on Carbon at 1:30 p.m.
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