Make it eight in a row.
Thanks to a terrific performance from pitcher Zac Ivie, who struck out eight batters in six complete innings on the mound, Desert Hills continued to roll Tuesday night, dropping Hurricane 7-1 to stay perfect in region play.
The win gives the Thunder some breathing room atop Region 9 where they lead second-place Snow Canyon by two games.
Ivie gave up just four hits in his time on the mound, utilizing a steady curveball to frustrate the Tigers (1-5 region, 6-9 overall).
“Whenever I left a pitch down the plate, they’d hit it, so I tried to mix it up a little,” he explained. “I lived on my curveball.”
Desert Hills (6-0 region, 11-3 overall) wasted no time taking control of the game, and led 1-0 after one.
In the second, with Carson Clement positioned at first, Braiden Irvin — who went a stellar 3-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs — attempted a bunt for the Thunder that was promptly recovered by Hurricane pitcher Matt Gonzalez.
But Gonzalez couldn’t make the play and instead overthrew first base. Clement scored as a result of the error and Irvin ran all the way to third.
The Thunder tacked on two more runs by the fourth inning for the 4-0 score.
Ivie flourished throughout, claiming five strikeouts in the first four innings alone. He then struck out three consecutive batters in the fifth before cooling off in the last two frames.
Hurricane finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth thanks to pinch runner Hal Stout’s run home from third off a sacrifice fly.
Not to be undone, Desert Hills padded the score with a pair of runs by Ty Rutledge and Irvin in the sixth.
Holding a comfortable lead, Thunder coach Jerry Beck replaced Ivie with Rutledge on the mound. The multi-talented senior forced a pair of fly outs and then retired the final inning with a strikeout of his own.
Desert Hills has defeated every team in Region 9 as second-half play begins.
Beck opted not to celebrate just yet.
“We know we haven’t accomplished anything,” he said. “These wins put us in a good spot, but anything can happen.”
The Thunder play at Cedar Friday at 4 p.m.
DIXIE 8, CANYON VIEW 3: The Flyers scored five runs in the third inning to wipe out an early deficit and beat the Falcons in Region 9 play Tuesday at Don Lay Field.
Trevor Cox hit a two-run homer for the Flyers, and Drew Batchelor added an RBI double.
Zach Brinkerhoff started for Canyon View, but couldn’t get out of the fifth. Dixie finished with 10 hits.
PINE VIEW AT CEDAR, PPD.: The game between the Redmen and Panthers was postponed because of the snow that fell Tuesday in Cedar City. It will be played tonight at Pine View at 7 p.m.
HURRICANE 6, DESERT HILLS 2: The Tigers scored four runs in the first inning and cruised to the Region 9 win over the Thunder at home Tuesday.
CANYON VIEW 10, DIXIE 1: Josie Platt turned in a solid performance on the hill and the Falcons broke out the bats in a big way in St. George.
PINE VIEW AT CEDAR, PPD.: The matchup between the Panthers and Lady Reds was postponed due to snow that fell overnight in Cedar City. It will be made up today at 4 p.m. at Pine View.