HYRUM — In a back-and-forth affair, the Hyrum Hornets managed to get its nose in front at the final inning to edge out the Providence Wolverines and come away with a 7-6 win in a Northern Utah League game on Friday night.
The oscillating of the lead began early and kicked into high gear late in the evening. Providence (9-5) fired up its offense right away, landing two base hits and a run by the time the fourth batter bade his way to the plate. The Hornets (6-7) started with a pop fly right into the waiting mitt of Wolverines center fielder Jack Burr, then Kelton Christensen sent another ball Burr’s way — which promptly flew over the outfielder’s head and over the fence for a solo home run. The Hornets then added two more runs, another RBI off the bat of Christensen and one from Ty Jones.
Though the early offense lit the diamond like the fireworks that lit the evening sky to the southeast, they too fizzled quickly into the darkness. For the better part of three innings, neither team managed more than a few scattered hits and were unable to conjure up any legitimate scoring opportunities.
But like any good firework show, the finale brought the excitement.
Providence once again found its hot bats by stringing five hits together, including a two-run dinger from Jesse Jensen and a base-clearing triple off the bat of Jed Jensen. That flipped a 3-1 game in favor of the Hornets to a 6-3 contest, advantage Wolverines.
At that point, with the momentum solely in the hands of Providence, the men of Hyrum needed some kind of spark. Ty Jones hit one of the Hornets’ five extra base hits (a double) to cut the deficit to 6-4, but nothing more came of it. The spark the became a flame was a two-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. On a breaking ball, Jarrett Hunt sliced a line drive into deep right field, splitting the two outfielders, to send two teammates home and set himself up to score the winning run on an RBI single via Dallon Jensen.
Getting those key runs with a razor-thin margin of error takes guts and the ability to play the long game if necessary.
“It’s mainly patience,” Hyrum manager James Hunt said. “The game’s not over until the last inning. I mean, right here (in the top of the seventh), they could have tied it up. That’s the one thing I’ve always done. You don’t fret, you don’t panic.”
The late-game scoring bursts from the team came largely from the tired arms of the pitchers. Both starters — Ptolian Takis for Hyrum and Eric Carter for Providence — made it at least to the fifth inning without much trouble. But once fatigue set in, things got interesting.
“(Takis) was pitching great up to that point. That was his longest stint of the year.” Hunt said. “I should have had somebody ready, but he was mowing them down before that. But I realized he was tired and that was when I talked to him.”
Hunt told Takis they needed one more out before a switch and he did so, making way for Jase Burbank to take over, close out the game and get the win. Providence reliever Cooper Kunz couldn’t quite get the job done, blowing the save set up by Carter by allowing three runs on three hits in the sixth inning.
The Hornets have now won five of their last eight games after starting 1-4 on the season, while Providence has fallen in three of its last four matchups.
BLUE SOX 10, GRAYS 7
Zach Hansen had a monster day at the plate to propel Smithfield to a big road victory over Gate City. Hansen went 3 for 4 with a pair of home runs, six RBIs and two runs.
Hansen belted a three-run bomb over the fence in left in the top of the first, and added a solo shot in the top of the third. The Dixie State University-bound pitcher then proceeded to smack a two-RBI double in the fourth frame.
Jordan Hansen also had a trio of base knocks for the Blue Sox, including a two-run double in the fifth to give the visitors a commanding 10-4 lead.
Dawson Barson and Dallin Fryar chipped in with two hits apiece for the Blue Sox. Barson also scored twice.
HJ sports writer Jason Turner contributed to this report