ST. GEORGE — Snow Canyon head coach Reed Secrist had to put in some hustle to make sure his runner saw the stop sign he was putting up last Thursday night in the game against the Tigers, an eventual 23-1 stomping of Hurricane. Unfortunately, the scorching trail the Warriors had carved leading up to Desert Hills fizzled against the Thunder on Tuesday.
The Snow Canyon baseball team had previously proven itself so adequate at the game, Secrist felt no need to man his post in the third base coaching box to begin his team’s hitting half of the second inning on Thursday against the Tigers.
At that point in the game, Secrist’s squad was already up by 11 and had swatted 11 hits. In one inning, they had compiled an offensive output that would please any coach if achieved over the course of an entire game. On the mound, Carston Herman had allowed a walk to start the game but retired the next six in a row with three strikeouts and no contact made out of the infield.
Simply put, Secrist’s input wasn’t exactly needed.
“It’s kind of easy to coach,” Secrist said. “I just try to let them do their thing.”
It proved a problem, however, when Jackson Ence reached on a hit by pitch and Sam Lindsey laced a double into center field, prompting Secrist’s mad dash to make sure Ence caught his stop sign pulling into third.
It’s a good day when a coach’s biggest problem is having to hold a runner up at third with no outs following a hard-hit double by your No. 8 hitter with an 11-run cushion. Leading up to their loss to Desert Hills on Tuesday, the Warriors had seen plenty of good days.
The Warriors were undefeated through four games in Region 9 play, scoring 78 runs and giving up six in those wins. Second place in both categories in Pine View with 39 runs scored and eight runs allowed. In Snow Canyon’s additional 11 nonregion games, they only allowed an additional 20 runs. In their two games each against Cedar and Hurricane to start the season, the Tigers got the closest to a victory against the Warriors and still lost 11-0.
The Warriors did lose one nonregion contest, a 12-2 drop to Jordan on March 27 in Snow Canyon’s fourth game in four days. They are still 14-1 overall.
According to MaxPreps data, six of the 12 Region 9 hitters with a batting average above .400 play for the Warriors. Mason Strong is the only player hitting above .500. On the mound, Carston Herman is averaging 1.76 strikeouts an inning and Isaac Lyon and Josh Akin are both getting at least one K per three outs as well. Those metrics include nonregion contests.
“We throw strikes, we play defense and then we get to hit,” Secrist said. “All three things are really clicking right now.”
The Warriors have a senior-laden group that Secrist says have all been playing together since the second grade. They have four players already committed to Utah Division I programs in addition to Mayze Mosher, who is committed to College of Southern Nevada. Shortstop Landon Frei is going to Utah. Strong and junior centerfielder Luke Anderson are headed to Brigham Young. Herman is staying in St. George to play at Dixie State.
It’s a core that expected to compete not just this season, but last year before COVID-19 paused sports. This year, with just another year of maturity and practice in club ball, expectations are even higher.
On Tuesday night, they got their first big test of the Region 9 season. Hurricane and Cedar are not the premier teams in Region 9, but Desert Hills is, with the Thunder coming into the game 3-1 in region play. They are still the remaining 4A state champion after their title in 2019, even if few players from that team still remain. Kaden Terry no-hit Cedar last week. Chandler Reber already had a pair of Region 9 homers in the middle of the order.
“I expect solid baseball games with Desert Hills,” Secrist said previous to the game. “We expect a good baseball game where hopefully we can pull away at the end, but I don’t see it being something we can walk in and expect to score 20 runs. We’re expecting to see a good-coached Desert Hills team with a lot of good players and ready for that battle and kind of that playoff baseball already.”
Ultimately, Desert Hills walked away with an 8-5 victory. Watch St. George News for an upcoming report on the game.
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