ST. GEORGE — Thursday was the early start of a busy baseball weekend in St. George, with four different high school tournaments getting underway. Pine View and Hurricane are hosting the Panther-Tiger Classic, Desert Hills is hosting the Summit Invitational, Snow Canyon is hosting the KJ Harrison Classic and Dixie is hosting the Donnie Pymm-Pizza Hut Classic.
There will be about 40 baseball games in five locations throughout the weekend. Three of the host teams were in action Thursday night, including Pine View, the defending 3A State Champion, which hosted its first game on its new Panther Field. Desert Hills and Snow Canyon also hosted Thursday night games, with the home team in both cases coming out on the short end of the stick.
Here’s a look at the action:
Pine View 10, Granger 0
There were a lot of firsts at PVHS Thursday night, with new head coach Troy Wall managing his first high school game, the Panthers playing for the first time on their new field and Connor Clark collecting PV’s first hit of the season. But what wasn’t new was a good portion of the Panthers line-up, starting with ace pitcher Dakota Donovan.
“You know what, we played just like we had hoped we would,” Wall said. “This is a group of kids that I’ve coached for years and I don’t feel any pressure at all. It was a smooth night.”
Wall, who has been an assistant at Pine View for years, also helped coach the current group of seniors during their tremendous success in Little League and beyond. And while the night wasn’t perfect (a soggy mound and a finicky PA system were some of the new ballpark issues on the night), the Panthers were very good.
Donovan, who has been pitching varsity since he was a freshman, went just two innings and was perfect. In fact, only one Lancer even touched the ball off Donovan as he struck out five of the six batters he faced.
“I knew I was going just two innings no matter what as I’m going to pitch on Saturday,” Donovan said. “Today was everything we could hope for. We were pitching great, hitting great. Not a lot you can complain about.”
Cody Riddle came in and pitched the final three innings in the mercy-rule shortened game, allowing just one hit to the Lancers, who must have felt like the roasted duck at a coronation feast. Granger’s only hit came on an infield nubber in front of the third baseman with two outs in the fifth inning.
The Panthers jumped on the Lancers early and scored in every team at-bat. PV started with five runs in the first, with Clark and Cole Green picking up base hits and Brooks Barney bringing home a run with a sacrifice fly.
Pine View added two more in the second inning, with Barney singling home Tybo Johnston and Donovan doubling home Barney on a gapper to right-center.
“We’re pretty excited,” Barney said. “We have high hopes. We want to go back-to-back. That’s our goal and I think we can achieve that. I really like our new field. We’re going to take really good care of it.”
After Logan LaFemina singled home a run in the third to make it 8-0, Wall emptied his bench and the only suspense was whether or not the younger players could invoke the mercy rule (10-run lead after five innings). RBIs by Ryke Erickson and Chandler Allman took care of that and PV got its first win of the year.
PV plays Delta at 6 p.m. Friday and Sky View at 8:30 p.m. as the new Panther Field will get a workout with games going from 8 a.m. on.
Copper Hills 4, Desert Hills 3
The hard-hitting Grizzlies raced out to a 3-1 lead in the first two innings and then survived a late rally to secure the win.
Desert Hills trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but a pair of Copper Hills errors made it 4-3 with two outs and runners on second and third. But that tying run would get no closer than 90 feet away as DH’s Preston Creager gave it a ride, but flew out to right to close out the game.
Copper Hills, a 5A school from the Salt Lake Valley, put together a two-out rally to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Thunder answered with a run in the second on an RBI single from Nelson that plated Hurdsman to cut it to 2-1.
The Grizzlies answered right back with a run in the second, but Hurdsman cut the deficit to one with a solo home run in the third.
The score stayed 3-2 until the sixth when a lead-off single led to a key insurance run for Copper Hills.
Trey Winget took the loss for Desert Hills, which will play host Friday to Orem at 4 p.m. and Salem Hills at 7 p.m. at Thunder Field as part of the Summit Invitational.
Cimarron-Memorial 7, Snow Canyon 2
Snow Canyon couldn’t get the bats going against one of the top Las Vegas teams, with a five-run second inning providing the difference.
Snow Canyon managed just one run in the second and another in the seventh in the loss. Nick Dolce took the L on the mound.
The Warriors will host 5A Syracuse at 8 p.m. Friday as part of the continuing KJ Harrison Classic.
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