ST. GEORGE — Pine View and Desert Hills just keep winning and that’s bad news for the rest of the region.
The two teams, tied for first in Region 9 with 5-1 records, will meet in the last week of the regular season with the region title likely on the line. Both teams swept opponents this week, with the Panthers completing a two-game whitewash of Cedar Friday night and the Thunder doing the same to Snow Canyon. Hurricane also won, beating Dixie to force a tie for third place between those two teams.
With now just two weeks left in region play, it should be a fantastic finish. Here’s a recap of Friday’s action:
Pine View 10, Cedar 1
For about five minutes Friday night, it looked like it was going to be Cedar’s night. With the wind blowing hard out to left, Rykker Tom hit a solo home run in the top of the first inning and the Redmen jumped out to a 1-0 lead at Panther Field. As it turns out, that would be the only hit of the game allowed by Pine View pitcher Brooks Barney.
“Rykker’s a good hitter and I piped a fastball right down the middle and he made me pay for it,” Barney said. “After that I just said that I need to hit my spots and get ahead in the count. You can’t fall behind good hitters.”
Barney retired the next seven batters before his defense allowed a Cedar base runner on an error. He then retired 10 straight batters before giving up his only base on balls of the game to start the seventh inning. By then, the Pine View offense had scored 10 unanswered runs.
“Rykker can hit anybody’s fastball out of here,” PV coach Troy Wall said. “As far as recovering from that, (Brooks) knew that it was just one pitch. I think if it had been anyone else but Rykker that hit it, he may have been a little more frustrated. But, like I said, Rykker’s a hitter and anybody that leaves one up there, he’ll take it yard.”
It also helped that the Panthers responded almost immediately on offense. After that homer, the PV offense quickly grabbed the lead by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. Logan Lafemina singled and Barney walked to set up slugger Dakota Donovan, who doubled to the gap in left-center to make it 2-1 with just one out.
With two outs, Jagun Leavitt doubled over the third baseman’s head to make it 3-1 before Cedar starter Berick Englestead was able to retire the side.
The Panthers added a run in the second after a couple of Cedar errors, then broke the game open in the fifth with four runs, including Connor Clark’s two-run home run that just curled inside the left field foul pole.
“Coach just told me to get my pitch and drive it, so that’s what I did,” Clark said. “All my teammates in the dugout had a bet that I was going to hit one over, so I had to win the money.”
Clark also had an RBI double in the sixth inning as the Panthers scored two more in that frame. He finished the day with a single, a double, a homer and three runs batted in.
Barney, meanwhile, was unhittable after the Tom homer, striking out nine Cedar batters and allowing just three base runners total in the game. He finished the game with just 85 pitches.
The hitting stars for PV were Clark, Jagun Leavitt (2 for 2 with two RBIs), Donovan (2 for 4, two RBIs) and Lafemina (2 for 4, a run scored) as the Panthers pounded out 12 hits off three Cedar pitchers.
PV, 13-5 overall and 5-1 in region play, has won six of its last seven games and will face Dixie in a two-game set next week, starting with Tuesday’s game at Panther Field.
Cedar, 8-11 overall and 1-5 in region play, will need to get hot in its last four games of region, starting with a two-game set next week vs. Desert Hills. Tuesday’s game is at Cedar at 4 p.m.
Desert Hills 13, Snow Canyon 6
Preston Creager had three hits and Brayson Hurdsman scored four runs as the Thunder pulled away with the road win at Warrior Field.
Creager singled twice and doubled in the game to lead a Desert Hills offense that scored in five of the game’s seven innings.
The game started well for Snow Canyon as a two-run rally in the bottom of the first gave the Warriors a 2-1 lead. Nick Dolce doubled home the first run and Jackson Nowatzke brought him across with a single.
But in the top of the third, D-Hills seized a lead it would not relinquish. The Thunder pushed four runs across, with Chad Nelson singling a run home and Chance Milne hitting a sacrifice fly to bring in another to make it 5-2. Another run in the top of the fourth on an SC error made it 6-2.
Snow Canyon cut it to 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth, but the wheels came off for the Warriors in the top of the sixth as a five-run rally for the Thunder turned the game into a blowout at 11-3.
DH’s 3-4-5 hitters (Hurdsman, Creager and Nelson) were solid in the victory, going a combined 6 for 7 with five RBIs and seven runs scored and also drawing six walks. Nelson and Winget had two hits each and Alex Ekins came off the bench to knock home a pair of runs as the Thunder improved to 11-9 overall and 5-1 in region play.
Desert Hills will battle Cedar in two games next week, starting with Tuesday’s afternoon game at CHS.
Snow Canyon, 6-13 and 1-5, has series left against Hurricane and Dixie. Next week’s Hurricane series begins Tuesday night at Warrior Field.
Hurricane 2, Dixie 1
Starting pitchers Alec Flemetakis and Trevor Connell got the best of the hitters in this one, with Flemetakis coming out just ahead to help the Tigers earn a series split.
“Really, Alec put us on his back and carried us to victory,” Tigers coach Jon Homer said. “Before the game he was like, ‘I want the ball. Give it to me and let’s go.’ I like that kind of attitude. And then he went out and got it done.”
Flemetakis allowed just three hits in six innings of work, with the only run coming off a Duncan Staheli double that plated Kaylor Yates in the fifth inning.
“He had a good curve working tonight and he just reached back and was throwing hard,” Homer said. “He gave up a walk to start the seventh and so we brought in Kyle Williams to close it out.”
The ending was not without drama, however, as Williams gave up a hit and the Flyers had the tying and go-ahead runners in scoring position with just one out. But Williams induced a pop-up for the second out and then ended the game with a strikeout to give the Tigers their third region win.
Hurricane had not won more than two region games since the 2007 season.
The Tigers led virtually the entire game. Williams walked to open the bottom of the first and came home on a one-out RBI double by Tobie Swenson. Noah Humphrey then stepped up and made it 2-0 by hitting a hot shot to the hole on the left side of the infield that just grazed the glove of diving Dixie shortstop Yates. The ball then trickled into the outfield, allowing Swenson time to round third and score easily.
Connell was almost as good as Flemetakis on the mound. The Dixie right-hander also allowed just four hits and struck out eight, with two walks. He also hit one batter.
“It was pretty much a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel,” Homer said. “Their kid, Connell, pitched really well. But our kids didn’t crack under the pressure of a close game. They played great defense and pulled this one out.”
The Tigers have played four one-run games in region competition this season, winning three of those.
Hurricane, 9-7 overall and 3-3 in region, has now split with the top teams in the region and will close out the season with series against Snow Canyon and Cedar. The series vs. the Warriors next week begins with Tuesday’s game at SCHS.
Dixie, which is 11-5 overall and 3-3 in region, has a series next week vs. Pine View, with the first game Tuesday at PVHS.
Region 9 Standings
Pine View 5-1 (13-5)
Desert Hills 5-1 (11-9)
Dixie 3-3 (11-5)
Hurricane 3-3 (9-7)
Cedar 1-5 (8-11)
Snow Canyon 1-5 (6-13)
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