It’s all about memory.
It was two months ago, but the Pine View Panthers dropped a pair of games to Snow Canyon.
Those losses, PV head coach Mike Gargano says, are responsible for the team’s renewed focus — a focus that helped the Panthers to finish the season 13-1 heading into Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup with Carbon.
Pine View’s focus was on display at Bruce Hurst Field, as it took advantage of six Carbon errors to come away with an 8-0 win and continue its charge through the 3A winner’s bracket.
“You got to give us credit, we were putting the ball in play, hitting it hard at kids,” Gargano said. “They’re here, they’re a good defensive team. They struggled today, but we were hitting hard, hitting it right at kids, getting it done.”
Yes, the Panthers also did their part with nine hits and some shining defensive moments — most memorably, Taylor Taigen turned a beauty of a double play, a long one from the third base line to second to third.
Carbon committed two errors in the first inning, and then led off the third with another, which put Walker on first.
Tyler Johnston singled and Logan LaFemina bunted down the third baseline to load the bases, but as the throw to first was behind and then bobbled, Walker not only made it to third but also kicked up the chalk on his way home for the game’s first run.
“Logan came through with the bunt. First baseman bobbled it, so I just took off,” Walker said, “My legs were feeling good today. I felt fast, so I just read it and took off.”
Both offenses stalled until the sixth.
Dakota Donovan reached base on an error. Hunter Hanson singled. Blake Ence, Walker and LaFemina all knocked in RBI singles before yet another Carbon error scored two more.
“Errors killed us today. Plain and simple,” Carbon head coach Jeff Cisneros said. “For the last six weeks, we’ve been playing a lot of error-free baseball. Today, it was one of those days, where they come back and reared their ugly head, and it really hurt us all day long.”
On the mound Donovan, pitched all seven, striking out five while giving up six hits.
The Pine View starter, fresh off a 16-strikeout performance the day before, started the game off retiring the side, using only nine pitches.
Donovan dodged trouble throughout the middle innings, but kept the complete game shutout, stranding a total of 10 Carbon base runners.
“Doesn’t matter how hard you throw; if you don’t spot your fastball, it’s going to get hit hard,” said Donovan, who was clocked at 89-91 mph. “I left it up a couple times, and they got base hits, but I pitched around runners, and we made it work.”
After a hit batter in the seventh, Hansen turned the tough double play, and Donovan followed that up with a strikeout to end the game.
“He (Donovan) wasn’t as fine tuned as he typically is, but the kids never lost confidence in him,” Gargano said. “Taylor Taigen makes two unbelievable plays, that double play just really closed it out.”
Pine View faces Cedar on Friday back at Bruce Hurst Field at 4:30 pm in the 3A semifinal game.
Carbon will look to forget about its six-error outing and return ready to play Snow Canyon or Desert Hills Friday at 11 a.m.
Snow Canyon 9, Payson 4
Desert Hills 8, Union 5
Snow Canyon 15, Desert Hills 11, 11 innings