ST. GEORGE – Baden Powell has acquired a confidence that suits him well and could only have come from winning.
The junior hurler pitched a nearly perfect baseball game and his teammates played perfect defense behind him in an 8-2 win over Dixie Tuesday night.
It was the sixth time in eight region games the Thunder have played error-free baseball and coach Jerry Beck said he knows that’s been the key to his team’s 10-game winning streak.
“That’s a huge thing for a pitcher to know that his teammates behind him are going to make the play almost every time,” Beck said. “It’s a confidence-builder. The pitchers can do their thing and they know their teammates have got their backs.”
Powell didn’t need much help the first five innings, holding Dixie hitless and striking out six Flyers along the way. Dixie had just three base-runners the first five innings and none of them even made it to second base.
Meanwhile, the Thunder pasted up a six-spot in the second inning that set the tone for the night.
“What really helped was for one guy to get a hit to get us started,” Dylan File said. “Once we got that hit, everyone got excited and we started stroking it. One of our goals is to get those good starting pitchers out of the game.”
The big hit that really got things going this game was a bases clearing double by Blake Betts that started the scoring at 3-0. But Desert Hills wasn’t satisfied with that one big hit in the inning. In fact, Kaleb Caplin and Dylan File also knocked across runs and File later scored on a wild pitch. The 6-0 lead seemed insurmountable with Powell’s splitter working.
“The thing that makes it tough is that it looks just like a fastball coming out of the hand,” Powell said. “Then the bottom drops out just before it gets to the plate. My off-speed stuff worked well tonight as well.”
The Thunder pushed the lead to 8-0 in the bottom of the fifth on RBIs by Braiden Irvin and Caplin.
Dixie finally got to Powell in the sixth inning. With two outs, Braxton Ipson broke up the no-hitter with a solid single to right field. Jesse Lambert walked and Tyson Graff spoiled the shutout by doubling Ipson home, making it 8-1.
The Flyers were able to get a run home in the seventh, chasing Powell with nobody out. But File came in and recorded the final three outs to close out the victory.
Amazingly, the Thunder are two-third of the way through Region 9’s 12-game schedule and still have not lost a game.
“We don’t think about the ones we’ve already played,” File said. “We think about the next one coming up. It’s 12 steps through region and we’ve only made it through eight of them.”
Desert Hills (13-3 overall and 8-0 in region) pounded Dixie for 13 hits, including doubles by Betts, File and Zac Ivie. The Thunder maintain their two-game lead in region over Snow Canyon. DH has a region bye Friday and will play a pair of non-league games in Las Vegas on Saturday against Liberty and Sierra Vista.
Dixie, 13-6 and 4-4, finished with just four hits. The Flyers are in third place, a half-game ahead of Cedar and Canyon View. Dixie goes home to play Pine View Friday night.
Snow Canyon 10, Canyon View 0
Not to be outdone by his grand slamming little sister, Riley Gates pitched a complete game and had four hits in the easy SC win.
Gates allowed four hits and struck out 11. Mason Smith hit a home run and Tyler Wardell doubled as Snow Canyon blasted CV starter Zack Brinkerhoff for 16 hits and three-run innings in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Brinkerhoff had beaten Gates and the Warriors 2-1 back on Mar. 20. But this time Snow Canyon jumped on the Falcons early, plating a run in the first inning. The game was shortened to five innings on the high school 10-run mercy rule.
SC, 12-5 overall and 6-2 in region, remains two games back of Desert Hills. The Warriors play at last-place Hurricane Friday night.
The Falcons, 8-7 and 3-4, host Cedar Friday night.
Pine View at Hurricane, postponed
Rains and wind postponed this game to Wednesday afternoon.
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