ST. GEORGE — Dakota Donovan casts a big shadow for Pine View, but every once in awhile, the Panthers other starter, Brooks Barney, let’s everyone know he is a force to be reckoned with as well.
Barney pitched seven innings of three-hit baseball, plus he knocked in the tying and go-ahead run in the fifth inning, as Pine View beat Snow Canyon 5-2 at Warrior Field to complete a two-game sweep and start off region play 2-0.
“He came in pretty hyped up and gave up a couple of runs right off,” PV coach Troy Wall said. “I think he always wants to top what Donovan did the start before. But once he settles in, he’s a great pitcher.”
The Warriors did start out with two runs in the first inning, Pine View got one back in the third inning and then seized control of the game in the fifth with a four-run rally that included Barney’s two-run liner to right field that scored Jarod Stirling and Logan Lafemina.
“We all knew Snow Canyon was going to come in amped up, ready to go,” Barney said. “They jumped on us 2-0, but I wasn’t nervous at all. I knew the team would come through. But we’ve got to stop giving teams head starts. That’s two games in a row.”
The game started well for Snow Canyon, with starter Austin Deming getting Pine View to go 1-2-3 in the top of the first. The Warriors then came out swinging in the bottom of the first. Jake Mack drew a one-out walk, then Nick Dolce chased him to third with a double to right field.
Deming then helped his own cause with a two run single to center field to make it 2-0.
In the third, Pine View cut the lead in half as Lafemina singled and eventually scored on a wild pitch, making it 2-1. With Barney on cruise control on the mound (at one point retiring 14 out of 15 batters) the Panthers began chipping away at Deming’s confidence on the mound.
PV finally broke through in the top of the fifth, with Stirling starting things off with a walk. He stole second, then went to third on a single by Lafemina, who advanced to second on a throw home. Barney then ripped a hard liner to right field to score two and make it 3-2, Pine View.
The Panthers weren’t done just yet. Connor Clark doubled to score courtesy runner Chandler Allman and make it 4-2. Jagun Leavitt then followed with a single to right to score Clark and make it 5-2.
Barney only allowed one hit after the first inning to come away with the complete-game victory.
“This was a good confidence boost, to start 2-0,” said Clark, who had two hits in the game. “We had to get these guys, They swept us last year, so we were definitely thinking about revenge.”
Last season, Snow Canyon swept Pine View to open region, but the Panthers won nine of their next 10 games to tie for the region crown.
Pine View ended up with eight hits in the game, seven of them singles. Leavitt had three of the hits, with Lafemina and Clark picking up two each.
Deming had two hits for Snow Canyon, with Dolce collecting the only other base knock.
“It does feel good to be 2-0, but there’s a lot of baseball still to be played,” Wall said. “This is just one step on the way, hopefully.”
Pine View, 9-5 overall, will face Hurricane for a two-game series next week. The Tigers are the home team Tuesday night, with the Panthers hosting Friday. Both games start at 7 p.m.
Snow Canyon, 5-9 and 0-2, will face Cedar next week with a 7 p.m. home game against the Redmen Tuesday and a 4 p.m. road game in Cedar City Friday afternoon.
Note: The Desert Hills-Hurricane baseball game was postponed until Monday night due to muddy conditions at Thunder Field. The 7 p.m. contest can be heard on ESPNRadio 97.7 FM.
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