With the Region 9 baseball season reaching its second-half portion of the schedule, seeding battles are beginning to take flight. Two of the more consistent programs in recent years, Canyon View and Snow Canyon, squared off in inclement weather during a Tuesday night showdown.
The outcome carried importance for both teams in terms of region standing. In adding more fuel to the fire, the Falcons had already edged the defending state champs earlier this season, which created a little more sizzle to the current situation.
After the first three innings of play, however, the anticipation soon lost its luster as the Warriors ran away with this contest, 10-0 in five innings.
“With Canyon View beating us at their place, we were really looking to bring it to them,” said Snow Canyon catcher Brady Sargent. “Our keys were starting off with intensity, and doing situational jobs like moving runners over and just let (pitcher Riley Gates) do his thing on the mound.”
Gates was certainly dealing against the Falcons (3-4 region, 8-7 overall). The senior ace, who has been dominant this season, kept the Falcons lineup guessing all night despite chilly temperatures and wet conditions. Gates finished with 11 strikeouts and went 4-for-4 at the plate. The southpaw’s brethren backed him up with their bats as well, tallying 16 hits and only two that went for extra bases.
“We have a pretty deep lineup,” Sargent said.
In the bottom of the third leading 1-0, the second place Warriors (6-2, 12-5 overall) got rolling off of Falcons hurler Ty Nielson.
Base hits from Chandler Day and Clint Gates started the process while ensuing batter Brogan Secrist delivered on his opportunity with a RBI single to left, which placed runners at the corners. Gates came through with a RBI single to right center, upping the Warriors lead to 3-0.
Tyler Wardell capped the inning with his hard-hit single that scooted just under the glove of the Falcons’ third baseman. The play gave Snow Canyon a four-run lead.
Canyon View soon brought in reliever Austin Braegger to stop the bleeding, which he did after forcing the next three Warriors into outs.
Canyon View has the potential to be an offensive power, but consistency has been a factor for them in recent weeks.
Slugger Keaton Kringlen has been as good as anyone in region this spring. On Tuesday, he was the only Falcon to garner an extra-base hit against Gates, which came in the top of the fifth. Yet his effort couldn’t spark the rest of the lineup as Gates proved to be too tough.
With Canyon View still very much in the 3A playoff hunt, there’s still time for the Falcons to solidify their issues before the bracket challenge.
“We need to put the ball in play and score runners when they’re on base,” Kringlen said. “We need to do the small things right, and we’ll be fine. … We need to stay mentally tough in all parts of the game.”
Snow Canyon, which is chasing Desert Hills for the top spot, has four region games left, and three will be played on the road.
The Warriors added three more runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Mason Smith’s two-run homer over the left field wall gave Snow Canyon a 9-0 lead in the final inning.
Moments later with the bases loaded, Wardell drew a walk to invoke the mercy rule, awarding Snow Canyon the convincing region win.