ST. GEORGE – The Region 9 title was on the line Tuesday night between Pine View (13-8, 8-3) and Desert Hills (16-5, 9-2). The Thunder needed a victory to win the title outright, while the Panthers needed the win to keep its shot alive of sharing the region title.
What looked like a great matchup on paper, quickly turned into an old fashioned beatdown as Pine View went off for 15 hits en route to a 10-2 victory on senior night.
“This season has been a lot of fun and it was great to get the win on senior night,” senior Blake Ence said.
Junior pitcher Dakota Donovan made sure the seniors left on a high note by throwing a complete game, allowing just five hits and striking out seven batters.
“It was really important to me to get the win for the guys tonight,” Donovan said. “The win meant a lot as far as the season goes, but I’ve been playing with these guys my whole life so it was nice to do it for them.
Donovan has been an ace for the Panthers this year and proved that Tuesday night.
“I was really focused tonight and made sure to just take it one batter at a time,” he said.
Pine View coach Mike Gargano was proud of his teams’ performance both on offense and on defense.
“Everyone was hitting the ball well today up and down the lineup and Blake’s performance really stood out to me,” he said. “Blake had several hits and just missed a home run in the early going.”
Ence’s double off the left field wall brought home two runs to put the Panthers up 3-0 after the first inning. The scoring didn’t stop as Pine View added two runs in the second and two runs in the third to take a commanding lead and didn’t look back.
“Everyone was relaxed and comfortable,” Gargano said. “Desert Hills has a great pitching staff and we knew that coming in. Our guys made sure to wait for their pitch and were able to drive it the way they needed too.
Both teams will play again Friday night — only this time at Desert Hills — in a battle for the Region 9 title.
Pine View needs to win on Friday, not only to share the Region 9 title and take the No. 1 overall seed, but will also avoid a coin flip toss in the process with Cedar. A loss Friday means the Redmen and Panthers would be tied going into the state tournament and both schools would likely have to settle seeds with a coin toss. That means a loss on Friday could potentially send the Panthers from a No. 1 seed to as low as a No. 3 seed.
But the Panthers aren’t focusing on all of the scenarios and are simply enjoying the win.
“We are going to enjoy this moment tonight, before we think about Friday,” Gargano said smiling. “The kids deserve it.”
Follow Justin Giles on Twitter, @Justingiles22.
Canyon View 8, Dixie 7
Cedar 12, Desert Hills 2
Dixie 17, Hurricane 0