4A state baseball: All 4 Region 9 playoff teams win at least 1 opening-round game

Dixie vs. Stansbury, 4A state baseball playoffs, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — All four of Region 9’s baseball teams in the 4A state playoffs won at least one of their first two opening-round games on Saturday, thereby advancing to the state tournament in Ogden later this week.

But of the four Region 9 playoff teams, only No. 2 seed Desert Hills won both of its games on Saturday, with the Thunder defeating both Tooele and Orem at Mountain Crest High in Hyrum.

Following are short recaps of Saturday’s action, starting with Dixie, Region 9’s top-seeded team, along with a look ahead to each team’s next tournament game.

Dixie 10, Stansbury 4 | Salem Hills 5, Dixie 0

At Dixie, the Flyers got off to a strong start in their early afternoon game against Stansbury, with leadoff batter Kayler Yates hitting a home run to left on Dixie’s first pitch of the game. That tied the score 1-1, as the Stallions had already notched a run in the top of the first.

Dixie vs. Stansbury, 4A state baseball playoffs, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

Yates also belted a homer in his very next at-bat, a two-run shot in the second inning, also on the first pitch he was thrown. That put the Flyers up 4-1, and they would go on to defeat the Stallions 10-4. Dixie amassed 11 total hits and saw nine of its batters walk. Starting pitcher Brendan Blanchard, who was relieved in the third inning by Ajay Leavitt, recorded the win on the mound.

In its second-round game later that evening, however, Dixie found itself stymied by the Salem Hills Skyhawks, who shut out the Flyers 5-0.

The game was scoreless after three innings, but Salem Hills picked up a single run in the fourth when a batter hit into a double play on a grounder to second with the bases loaded, bringing in the runner from third.

The score remained 1-0 until the sixth inning, when the Skyhawks added four more runs, thanks to three singles, a walk, a hit by pitch with the bases loaded, and an error.

Dixie vs. Salem Hills, 4A state baseball playoffs, St. George, Utah, May 11, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News

Offensively, Dixie managed just three hits, although they held the Skyhawks to four. Starting pitcher Cooper Vest, who pitched the first five innings before being relieved by Yates, took the loss for the Flyers. Vest also had Dixie’s lone extra-base hit, a double with one out in the bottom of the sixth. However, he was unable to advance any farther, as the next two Flyer batters both struck out.

Dixie will next face region rival Snow Canyon in the state tournament’s one-loss bracket Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at Weber High School. The 4A tournament runs May 15-18 in Ogden.

Desert Hills 4, Tooele 1 | Desert Hills 7, Orem 1

At Mountain Crest High School, the second-seeded Desert Hills Thunder opened the playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the Tooele Buffaloes on Saturday.

Clayton Lott started things off for the Thunder with a leadoff double in the first inning. The next five batters all walked, two of them with the bases loaded, giving Desert Hills an early 2-0 lead. The inning ended shortly thereafter on a grounder to pitcher that was converted into a double play. The Thunder picked up another run in the second when leadoff batter Chandler Reber hit a solo homer. Blake Milne drove in another run on a single in the third.

Starting pitcher Drew Thorpe had a strong outing for Desert Hills, allowing just one run on five hits while walking two and striking out 10. He pitched the first six innings before being relieved by Lance Kinross, who retired the side in the seventh for the save.

In their second-round game, the Thunder faced the Orem Tigers, who earlier had upset the host team, top-seeded Mountain Crest, by a score of 4-1.

Orem scored a run in the top of the first, but Desert Hills answered with a run to tie it in the bottom of the second. The Thunder pulled ahead 2-1 in the third, thanks to a double by Bronson Andrus that scored Bo Barben.

A five-run rally by the Thunder in the sixth inning finally gave Desert Hills the breathing room it needed to finish with the victory. Starting pitcher Kinross earned the victory, while Milne picked up the save by getting the last four Orem batters out.

Desert Hills advances to play Spanish Fork, Region 10’s No. 1 seed, in the 4A quarterfinals Wednesday at Lindquist Field in Ogden. The game is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. Click here to see full bracket, including game times and locations.

Park City 8, Snow Canyon 6 | Snow Canyon 4, Ridgeline 2

At Spanish Fork, third-seeded Snow Canyon lost its opening-round playoff game to Park City, 8-6.

Snow Canyon took an early 2-0 lead in the first, but Park City scored four runs in the bottom of the second to pull ahead 4-2. The Warriors then got three more runs on four hits in the top of the fifth to regain the lead, 5-4. However, Park City answered with another four-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead for good. Starting pitcher James Beck, who was relieved during the Miners’ fifth-inning rally, took the loss for Snow Canyon.

Despite their first-round loss, the Warriors rebounded to defeat Ridgeline 4-2 later on Saturday. In that game, Snow Canyon scored three runs in the second inning on a bases loaded triple by Beck, then added another run in the third, which proved to be enough of a cushion in their eventual victory. Starting pitcher Brock Secrist picked up the win.

Snow Canyon’s next playoff game is against Dixie in the 4A tournament’s one-loss bracket Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at Weber High School.

Juan Diego 3, Cedar 2 | Cedar 3, Green Canyon 2

At Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, the fourth-seeded Cedar Redmen were tied with No. 1 seed Juan Diego 2-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, when Juan Diego managed to hit three straight singles after an initial groundout. The Soaring Eagle’s final hit, by Morgan Anderson, brought in teammate Cooper Rust to end the game.

Starting pitcher Tanner Eyre pitched the entire game for Cedar.

“Tanner threw a really good game, keeping us in it the whole way giving us a chance,” said Cedar head coach Eric Fieldstead. “We had baserunners and opportunities all game long, but just couldn’t come up with that big hit with runners on base.”

Cedar then bounced back to win its second-round game later Saturday, outlasting Green Canyon 3-2.

Cedar led 3-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth, when the Wolves managed to score twice, thanks to a triple followed by an error and a passed ball. But the Redmen limited the damage to those two runs and held on for the one-run victory.

“Against Green Canyon, we got another outstanding pitching performance from Andre Castaneda, who gave up two runs, only one earned run, and threw the complete game,” Fieldstead said, adding, “Teague Speakman had a big RBI double followed by another RBI double by Tanner Eyre in the second inning. Kolby White drove in another, and we survive to play another day.”

Cedar will next play Orem, Region 10’s fourth seed, in the one-loss bracket Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at Roy High School.

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