For the third time in as many years, the Snow Canyon baseball team will get to end the season with a win. Unfortunately for the two-time defending state champions, that win won’t come in the 3A title game.
Needing a victory to have any hope of defending their title, the Warriors delivered in an action-packed game against Region 9 champion Desert Hills, defeating the Thunder Friday, 5-3. However, Pine View’s win over Dixie gave the Panther’s the region’s final playoff spot, ending the Warriors’ season.
“It doesn’t feel that good,” SC head coach Reed Secrist said. “The thing that makes me the maddest is, ‘Okay, who’s better than us?’ Okay, Canyon View, because they took two games from us, but no one else did. It’s like who’s going to the playoffs, and I’ll say that the best team is not, in my opinion.”
Clearly knowing what was on the line, Snow Canyon started off on fire. SC pitcher Jake Sargent got out of the first inning without giving up any runs, and the Warriors wasted little time in the bottom of the inning getting things going.
Leadoff batter Jacob Frei smacked a double off of the Thunder’s Baden Powell, and Clint Gates followed that up with a single. Tyler Wardell kept the momentum going with an RBI-grounder that scored Frei, but turned into a questionable double-play when Wardell was called out at first.
However, the Warriors weren’t done.
Catcher Brady Sargent got on base with another single – aided by one of five Desert Hills’ errors on the night – bringing Josh Howard to the plate. The designated hitter delivered, smashing a ball deep over the fence in left-center, scoring two more runs and scaring some of the cars in the parking lot.
“Jake Frei leading off and getting on base, that’s huge for us. When he’s on base and we’ve got Clint Gates, probably Region 9’s best hitter and Wardell, the second best hitter, behind him, we’re going to score some runs,” Secrist said. “Jake gets the double and Clint and Tyler get on base, and then obviously the big blow coming off Josh Howard’s bat that gets us in three. It makes you feel good, but you know you’ve got to keep going because you’re playing an opponent that’s pretty darn good also.”
The Thunder responded with a solo shot from Wyatt Bendall in the top of the second inning, but Snow Canyon added two more runs in the bottom of the third to build a 5-1 lead. The Warriors carried that lead into the sixth inning, but would score no more runs, struggling at the plate after Thunder ace Dylan File replaced Powell in the bottom of the fourth inning.
In the top of the sixth, Desert Hills loaded the bases and scored two runs on a fielder’s choice and a sac-fly, before another fly ball ended the inning. File nearly added another run in the top of the seventh, but his home run attempt fell just a couple feet short of topping the netting in center field, leaving him with a double. However, Gates, who replaced Jake Sargent in the sixth inning, was able to get the Thunder’s Clay Gardner to pop out to end the game.
While the Warriors’ season is over, Desert Hills must now regroup before the 3A baseball tournament starts next week.
“That’s the biggest thing for us is to just refocus,” Thunder head coach Jerry Beck said. “It’s kind of nice to have region out of the way. It’s been tough I think for our kids to keep the fire and motivation the last two or three games, but that’s no excuse. Snow Canyon played great tonight, they were hungrier and it showed.”
REDMEN 13, TIGERS 3, 5 INN.: Cedar did its damage early and often, scoring seven runs in the first and five more in the second to roll over Hurricane and wrap up the No. 2 seed for the 3A state playoffs.
Josh Boyer and Rykker Tom had three hits apiece to lead a 13-hit attack and Brecken Lewis drove in three runs. Kayden Lunt added a home run.
The Tigers scored all of their runs in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t get enough to extend the game.
Cedar will open the playoffs against Juab at Juan Diego High in Draper next Saturday.
PANTHERS 5, FLYERS 2: Justice Santiago belted a two-run homer, and pitcher Dakota Donovan left two runners stranded in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning as Pine View closed its regular season at 7-5 in Region 9 to claim the No. 4 seed for the 3A playoffs.
The Panthers finished tied with Canyon View for third place, but were swept by the Falcons in the season series. They play at Payson next Saturday.