The Smithfield Blue Sox exorcised a few small demons in Logan by drubbing the Royals in a Northern Utah League game, 10-4, on Tuesday evening at Worthington Park.
Logan (2-12) has just two league wins this season, both against Smithfield (12-8), which have spent the season at the top of the NUL table, while the Royals are at the opposite end of the standings. The Blue Sox do have a pair of wins over Logan, but edging ahead in the season series bodes better for a team with NUL title hopes.
In Smithfield’s last loss to Logan, the Royals drove in four runs in the first inning. In Tuesday’s matchup, the Blue Sox flipped the script, calling the four early scores and raising the Royals five first-inning runs. Each of Smithfield’s first five batters got on base safely (and it was those five who scored in the inning). That early push was a welcome sight to player/head coach Jordan Hansen.
“We’ve struggled all year coming up in those situations,” Hansen said, later adding that the early dominance at the plate “sets the tone for better at-bats the rest of the night. Guys get comfortable, especially when you get the first five guys on, everybody feels like they’re going to have a night.”
Hansen himself had a solid outing with three RBIs on a 2-for-4 mark at the plate. His final at-bat was a two-run dinger over the left-center fence. Rhett Nielsen went 2 for 5 with both hits being doubles, with each double resulting in an RBI. Ryder Lundahl also doubled for the visitors.
Flipping the first-inning script applied to the Smithfield defense as well. Scoring those runs went much farther when pitcher Wyatt Barrus and the defense shut out Logan for the first two innings. And by the time a Royal did finally cross the plate in the third inning, the Blue Sox had built a seven-run cushion. That cushion allowed Smithfield to play relaxed unlike each of the previous four matchups with Logan (all of which were either Royals wins or tightly contested Blue Sox wins).
“It definitely lightened the mood in the dugout,” Hansen said. “Guys were relaxed and having fun, whereas every other time we’ve played (Logan) we’ve felt like we’ve got to press every inning, and if we don’t score two or three (runs) then it’s going to be a long night.”
For they Royals’ part, they managed to get eight hits off of Barrus, just one fewer hit than the Blue Sox tallied on the night. The difference came in the timing of those hits. Smithfield struck the ball well with men on base, while Logan merely got on or two guys on and then squandered most of its scoring chances.
Barrus pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs, striking out five and walking none. Logan’s Kolby Smith pitched 6.1 innings, walking 10, giving up eight hits and eight earned runs.
Cam Beyer singled twice, drove in a run and scored once for the Royals.
HORNETS 12, WOLVERINES 2 (5)
Hyrum exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to dispatch of Providence via the mercy rule.
Ptolian Takis slammed the door shut with a bases-clearing single. It was Takis’ second at-bat of the inning as he had a RBI single earlier in the frame. The Ridgeline graduate went 2 for 2 with a pair of walks, four RBIs and two runs in the game.
Jarrett Hunt smacked a solo homer in the third inning for the Hornets, who improved to 3-3 against the Wolverines this season. Tanner Leishman doubled and singled for Hyrum, while Hunt also had a pair of hits.
Ty Jones went the full five innings on the mound for the Hornets. The former Providence player scattered five hits, struck out seven and walked six.
Mitch Berryhill doubled twice and walked for Providence, which also got a double from Shawn Triplett.
HJ sports writer Jason Turner contributed to this report