The conditions at Cedar’s field Tuesday couldn’t have been worse for a baseball game, but the Redmen knew if they could fight through it and pick up a win, they could make it through anything.
Kayden Lunt pitched a complete game for Cedar — allowing just four hits while his defense kept the Flyers in check — in a solid 5-1 victory that gave the Redmen their third win in five games.
“I just knew my goal was to throw strikes today and rely on my defense,” said Lunt, who also threw three strikeouts and benefited from a trio of double plays in the game that kept Dixie from starting any kind of rally. “That’s just how the outing was (today), and it worked out great.”
With a stifling 35 mph wind blowing in from right field throughout the game, offense was hard to come by.
The teams combined for only four hits through the first four innings, as they struggled to adapt to the blustery environment.
“It was a very difficult day to field the ball,” Cedar head coach Eric Fieldsted said. “Our guys did a really good job of staying focused.”
Dixie grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice from Braxton Ipson that scored Tanner Webster from third base.
It was a good start, but with Lunt in the zone the lone run would be all the offense the Flyers could muster.
Lunt retired 12 of the next 14 batters he faced, including a breakneck performance in the second inning in which he retired the side on five pitches.
“Kayden did a good job of just pounding the strike zone,” Fieldsted said. “He threw strikes, got after them and made them put the ball in play.”
Cedar (5-4, 15-5) took a 2-1 lead in the third when a routine fly ball from Brecken Lewis got away from the centerfielder for a double and allowed Trey Esplin and Rykker Tom to score.
Neither team put a runner on base in the fourth inning, and Cedar added to its lead in the fifth, picking up three runs on four hits to go ahead 5-1.
Esplin led the inning off with a single, followed by a double to center field from Tom.
Brock Esplin notched an RBI single on the next at bat, Lewis’ double brought home Tom and Dallas Jolley hit a sacrifice fly to score Brock Esplin and give Cedar all the runs it would need.
Lunt took care of the rest.
Dixie (4-5, 11-9) stranded two base runners in the sixth inning and fell victim to Cedar’s final double play in the seventh inning, which stopped a potential comeback and sent the Flyers to a 4-5 record in Region 9 while leaving them at 3-3 over their last six games.
The Redmen travel to play at Dixie Friday in what could potentially be a game with major playoff implications, before finishing the season next week in a series with Hurricane.
Dixie will close the season with a pair of games against Pine View.
FALCONS 4, TIGERS 0: Zack Brinkerhoff picked up another solid win for Canyon View, giving up zero runs and allowing only one hit as the Falcons stayed in the region title hunt and picked up a game on Region 9 leader Desert Hills.
Both teams struggled in the windy conditions, but Canyon View was able to put together a run in the top of the third and fourth innings to get on the board. Two more runs in the top of the sixth inning, combined with Brinkerhoff’s performance from the mound, was more than enough to lock things up for the Falcons.
PANTHERS 6, THUNDER 4:Pine View jumped out to and early lead and then held on to hand Desert Hills only its second regular season region loss in the past two years. With the loss, the Thunder can still clinch the 2014 Region 9 title at home against Pine View Friday night, but DH is going to need some help.
With the win, the Panthers are now tied with Cedar in the region standings at 5-4, vying for the fourth and final playoff spot.