ST. GEORGE — OK, so maybe Snow Canyon’s pitching has been stellar the past couple of weeks. But the way the Warriors are hitting the ball, does it really matter?
Snow Canyon put up 24 runs and rapped out 29 hits in two games Thursday to stay alive in the elimination bracket of the 3A State Tournament. In the process, the Warriors ended the season for two very good teams, Region 12 champion Payson and Region 9 co-champ Desert Hills.
Freshman Austin Deming had seven of those hits and junior Nick Dolce pounded six hits in two games as the Warriors beat Payson 9-4 in the early game, then outlasted region rival Desert Hills 15-11 in 11 innings in the evening game.
Deming had five singles and two doubles and knocked in five runs. Dolce had two singles and four doubles and gathered four RBIs along the way. SC averages 7.1 runs per game, with that number climbing after scoring 45 runs in four playoff games (11.3 rpg). Here’s a look at the elimination games played at three venues, Dixie State, Dixie High and Pine View High.
Snow Canyon 15, Desert Hills 11 (at Hurst Field)
The Thunder held the Warriors to 11 runs in two games during the regular season series between the two teams, but four D-Hills pitchers couldn’t stop the flow in this one. Snow Canyon scored in seven of the 11 innings and had at least two runs in four of those innings.
But, like two evenly-matched tennis players, this game would go back and forth, depending on which team was at the plate. SC forged leads of 3-1 (in the third) and 6-3 (in the fourth), but each time Desert Hills would climb back to tie the game.
“Well, people got their money’s worth tonight,” Snow Canyon coach Reed Secrist said. “That was just two teams out there mashing the ball. Every time I thought we had the game won, they’d come back and score a couple. As a hitting guy, I loved the way we swung it, and I’m sure Jerry (Beck) loved the way his guys swung it, too.”
The Thunder, 18-9, took their first lead in the bottom of the fifth when Trey Winget beat out an infield hit, allowing Chad Nelson to score from third base and make it 7-6. Brock Staheli’s leaping spear of a hot liner at third base kept the DH lead from getting any bigger.
This time it was the Warriors who immediately matched the score, with Isaac Rhea coming home from third on a wild pitch. That tied it at 7-7. Wyatt Bendall, who uncorked the wild pitch, got out of a one-out bases loaded jam with a strikeout and a popup to keep the game deadlocked.
D-Hills got the potential winning run in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, but left them out there, sending the game into extra innings.
SC, 19-8, went ahead 9-7 in the top of the eighth and a fielder’s choice RBI by Brady Sargent and a run-scoring wild pitch that plated Koby Holyoak. Desert Hills matched the two-spot with Bendall scoring on a wild pitch and Nelson singling home Cam Winget.
In the ninth, history repeated itself as the Warriors again scored two runs to take an 11-9 lead. Rhea scored on a wild pitch and Deming knocked home Jacob Frei with a single to left. And the Thunder responded with two of their own. Bendall hit a two-run double to left that brought home Trey Winget and Brayson Hurdsman. Dolce was able to induce a pair of fly balls to end the threat and keep the game tied at 11-11.
Neither team scored in the 10th, though both squads got a base hit. But in the 11th, Snow Canyon finally put together a rally that Desert Hills could not match. And it all came with two outs.
Jake Sargent and Deming each singled, then Brady Sargent put the Warriors ahead 12-11 with an RBI single to left field. Dolce then rocked a ball off the fence in center field to score two more and make it 14-11. Brad Grisenti capped the rally with another double to make it 15-11.
“When we went through that little dry spell in the middle of the season, we had our chances but just weren’t putting the ball in play,” Secrist said. “Now we’re clicking and it’s because we’re putting the ball in play and putting the pressure on the other teams. And not just that, we’re finding gaps and hitting it to the wall as well.”
Snow Canyon 9, Payson 4 (at Panther Field)
Brady Sargent had a two-run homer and four total RBIs and Deming had three hits and three RBIs as the Warriors never trailed in this game. SC scored twice in each of the first two innings and by the fourth, the lead had grown to 7-0.
The Lions pulled to within 7-4 on a pair of two-run homers, one by Dillon Lutz and the other by Brady Mellen in the fourth and fifth innings.
But Sargent’s dinger in the top of the sixth quelled any upset thoughts and sent the Warriors to the next round.
Jake Sargent got the win on the mound for SC allowing just five hits, while Payson bowed out with an 18-8 record.
Desert Hills 8, Union 5 (at Flyer Field)
The Cougars led most of the game after a controversial call opened the door for a four-run rally in the second inning. But the Thunder closed to within 5-4 heading into the sixth and plated four runs in that frame to take the game over, with Brayson Hurdsman’s RBI double highlighting the rally.
In the second inning, DH got what seemed like a harmless dropped third strike call. The Thunder threw over to first to retire the side and then headed to the dugout. But, as it turns out, it was apparently a walk, not a third strike, therefore the batter was safe at first. And with two men on, the Cougars sent them around the bases and made it 2-0. Union scored two more in the inning and had the Thunder on the ropes.
But by the end of the third, DH had closed to within 5-3 and by the sixth, it was 5-4, opening the door for the game-clinching rally.
Even with the win, DH finished the year losing four out of six games. The Thunder, who at one time were 9-1 in region and 16-5 overall, finish 18-9.
Park City 11, Uintah 2
Juab 7, Richfield 2
Park City 13, Juab 2
The Miners (21-5) and Wasps (12-8) won their early games Thursday, but Juab was no match for Park City in the nightcap at Bruce Hurst Field.
Park City, which has scored 41 runs in four playoff games this postseason, will play Bear River at 1:30 p.m. Friday for the right to keep the season alive in the elimination bracket.
The winner of that game will play the winner of Snow Canyon and Carbon’s 11 a.m. game with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
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