ST. GEORGE – One would think Riley Gates might have felt a little disrespected after Dixie chose to walk the bases loaded to get to him in the fifth inning.
“Nah, I was just trying to focus on hitting the ball hard, on having a good at-bat,” said Gates, whose grand slam lifted the Warriors to a 5-4 win Tuesday night over the Dixie Flyers.
Gates then struck out five Flyers in the last two innings to record the save and clinch second place for the Warriors. It was just another day at the office for the senior, who has been playing varsity since he was a freshman.
“That’s just baseball – you have those moments,” he said. “You enjoy them for a minute, but there’s not really time to celebrate. We’ve got a long way to go still in this season.”
Dixie dominated for the first two-thirds of the game and went into the fifth inning with a 4-1 lead. With two outs and a runner on first, Clint Gates hit a lazy fly ball to left field that surprisingly glanced off the glove of the Dixie outfielder. By the time the ball was cleared into the infield, Gates was at second and Brendon Truman was at third.
Brogan Secrist, who had grounded out twice previously, came to the plate. Dixie decided to intentionally walk Secrist to bring up Gates with the bases loaded and two outs. The senior lefty looked at two fastballs before ripping the third one deep to left-center, easily clearing the dark green fence for the grand slam.
“Riley’s been playing varsity so long, he’s probably seen it all and heard it all,” coach Reed Secrist said. “It was something, though, to see him go from the bullpen, to the on-deck circle to hitting a grand slam.”
Dixie had built its lead early in the game with some timely hitting. Braxton Ipson had a solo homer to start things off in the top of the first. The Flyers added two more in the third on RBIs by Jesse Lambert and Tyson Graff to take a 3-0 lead.
Snow Canyon got one back in the bottom of the third when Jake Lindsay scored on an error. Ipson scored his second run of the game in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Cox, making it 4-1 just ahead of Gates’ grand slam in the bottom half of that inning.
“We knew Dixie would come out and battle hard,” Warriors catcher Brady Sargent said. “There was a lot of intensity out there. Both teams knew there was a lot on the line.”
Trevor Cox was the hard-luck loser for Dixie, allowing just one earned run. The Flyers committed five errors and also stranded nine men on base.
Secrist got the win, with Gates picking up the save for the Warriors, who are 14-7 overall and 8-4 in region. Snow Canyon has a region bye Friday and will play Bishop Gorman out of Las Vegas as the season-closing contest. The Warriors clinched second place and will play in the Spanish Fork pod in the first round of the playoffs May 11. Times and opponents have yet to be determined.
Dixie, 15-7 and 6-5, is now battling to stay out of a play-in game. The Flyers play at Canyon View Friday afternoon. A loss could drop them into a tie with Cedar for the final playoff spot. A win would clinch third place and send the Flyers to the Park City pod May 11.
Desert Hills 5, Canyon View 2
Carson Clement lined a two-run single to left field in the fifth inning to break a 2-2 tie and Dylan File came in and saved the game for starter Baden Powell as Desert Hills kept its perfect region record intact.
Powell pitched five and a third innings, but ran into a little trouble in the sixth. File, who has been pitching very well as of late, came in and quelled the threat, then mowed down the Falcons in the seventh for the save.
Desert Hills managed to avoid the loss despite a letdown after the big region-clinching win over Snow Canyon.
“We definitely came out flat,” coach Jerry Beck said. “The energy and emotion just wasn’t there like it was in the Snow Canyon game. Fortunately, the pitching was there and our defense was solid once again, even though we didn’t hit the ball well.”
Once again, Desert Hills was error-free, a trait that has become a trademark for this championship team. The Thunder had just five hits in the game off of Canyon View’s Jesse Johnson, but still improved to 16-5 overall and 11-0 in region.
Desert Hills closes the regular season at Hurricane Friday and then will host a playoff four-team pod May 11 with games at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Cedar 10, Hurricane 0
Hunter Low pitched the win and also doubled as the Redmen invoked the 10-run mercy rule in the sixth inning. Cedar had 11 hits and still has hopes of at least a play-in game if the Redmen can win Friday against Pine View. The game will be at 4 p.m. at Cedar as weather forced the flip-flop of locations with the Panthers in their game earlier this season.
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