After winning back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013, the Snow Canyon baseball team couldn’t repeat the performance in 2014 — after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
But the Warriors are ready to get back to their winnings ways this weekend as they travel to Park City, to take on the Park City Miners in the opening round of the 3A playoffs.
The fourth seeded Warriors will face a tough task as they look to dethrone the No. 1-seeded Miners on the road.
“We’re excited to be back in the playoffs after missing out last year,” Brady Sargent said. “There is nothing like the postseason and it was tough not being apart of it last year.”
Brady, a senior and Utah Valley University commit, will be counted on to help lead the charge, along with his cousin Jake Sargent, who is one of the star pitchers on the team.
The senior duo has been playing together since their little league days and that chemistry has helped serve them well over the years.
“We’ve been playing together forever,” Jake said. “He’s always been my catcher and it’s a lot of fun playing with him.”
With a good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen on the team, Snow Canyon coach Reed Secrist not only loves the leadership from his guys, but how his players have continued to respond throughout the season.
“We won our first 10 games and then went through a dry spell there for a bit,” Secrist said. “Players could have started pointed fingers at one another, but that’s not what we are about. Everyone continues to battle and fight through the adversity and because of that, we were able to make the playoffs.”
Heading into the last two weeks of the regular season, Snow Canyon was on the outside looking in for the fourth and final playoff spot in Region 9.
After sweeping Dixie and Hurricane to close the regular season on a four-game winning streak, and combined with Canyon View’s loss to Desert Hills, the Warriors found themselves postseason bound.
“It was crazy,” Brady said about the last two weeks of the season. “It reminded me of my freshmen year when we had to win out, or else we had to play in the play-in game. It was great to see everyone come together these last couple of weeks and to reach our goal of making the playoffs.”
Even though the Warriors come into the tournament as the fourth seed, the fact that Snow Canyon is back in the tournament makes teams, including Chuck Norris start to sweat profusely.
“Something magical happens when Snow Canyon gets into the tournament” Jake said. “I’ve been twice – won state twice – and look forward to doing it a third time.”
That road starts Saturday morning against a very good Park City squad.
“Park City has a lot of great hitters,” Secrist said. “We will need to pitch well and play great defense. We haven’t been away from our field very often, so we will see how our guys respond in a tough environment.”
With the pitching rotation still to be determined, Jake is certainly ready if he’s called on to do so.
“There has been hints that I may start, but I’m ready to go,” he said. “The keys for us will be to not give Park city any good looks because they can really hit the ball.”
Park City is one of the top hitting teams in all of 3A. Leading the way is Chandler Barkdull and Chandler Anderson who have combined for 16 doubles, 11 triples and two home runs.
To make matters worse, pitchers Ryan Brady and Scott Stokes are a combined 14-2 on the year, and will look to slow down the Warriors.
If Snow Canyon can get past the Park City Saturday, they will play the winner of Grantsville and Carbon right after, for the right to advance to the semifinals next Thursday.
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter @Justingiles22.
Snow Canyon tournament information (Games played at Park City High School)
No. 4 Snow Canyon (16-7) vs. No. 1 Park City (18-4), 11:30 a.m.
No. 3 Grantsville (8-14) vs. No. 2 Carbon (10-10), 9:00 a.m.
Note: Winners will play right after. Game time is set for 2:00 p.m.