The Region 9 baseball season got underway Tuesday night at Flyer Field and it couldn’t have been more dramatic.
Down 2-1, the Dixie Flyers rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh for a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Cedar Redmen.
“That game was crazy,” right-handed pitcher Tyson Fisher said. “I’m speechless right now.”
After Payton Harrah drove in the game-tying run to level the score at two runs apiece, Hobbs Nyberg walked up to the plate with runners on first and third.
“I just wanted to put the ball in play,” Nyberg said. “I wasn’t looking for a specific pitch or anything, just trying to make any contact I could with the ball to give my teammates a chance to score.”
And the sophomore did just that.
With the count 2-2, Nyberg drove a fastball into the left field gap to bring home the game-winning run.
“It was great to see Hobbs perform like that,” Dixie head coach Danny Ipson said. “He’s been great for us throughout the season, and although he didn’t play his best early on, he made it count when we needed him the most.”
Dixie’s Duncan Staheli got the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth after stealing home. After a groundball looked to end the inning for the Flyers, Cedar shortstop Rykker Tom — who was terrific defensively up until that point — scooped up the ball and fired to first. The ball fell a bit short of the first baseman who couldn’t dig the ball out for the final out.
It didn’t take long for Tom to make up for it as the slugger stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI triple to tie the score 1-1. A few pitches later, Tom stole home to put the Redmen up 2-1 after a passed ball got by the Flyer catcher.
Cedar pitcher Kyler Carrizosa looked well on his way to earning the victory after keeping the Flyer offense at bay for much of the game. Through six innings, the lefty gave up just three hits to an offense that was averaging nearly six runs a game.
Then Staheli, Caden Christenson and Wyatt Woodland took over. After Staheli drew a walk, Christenson put down a perfect bunt down the third baseline to put runners on first and second.
After Woodland advanced the runners with another great bunt, Harrah tied it up with a base hit to right. Nyberg then got the walk-off to give the Flyers the first region victory of the season.
“Those were two great bunts,” Ipson said. “Caden has great speed and was able to run it out. Wyatt is also one of our better bunters even though he is more of a power hitter.”
Fisher had seven strikeouts in the complete game for the Flyers.
“Tyson pitched a great game. Even after going deep in the counts he got out of some tough spots against a really good Cedar team,” Ipson added. “After we tied the game up I asked Tyson how he was feeling and he was ready to go out there for the eighth. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go back out there.”
Ipson’s message to his team now is to enjoy the win, before the Flyers make a return trip to Cedar to close out the series.
“Cedar is a very talented team and we are going to have our work cut out for us again,” Ipson said. “The way the matchups are set now, if we go up and lose than today’s game didn’t mean as much as it did before. So we’re going to go up and try to take another big game.”