HYRUM — It may not have been pretty at times, but Mountain Crest made plays when it needed to Friday afternoon at The Yard.
The Mustangs completed a three-game sweep of Sky View in the first Region 11 series of the season. Timely hits and several big plays in the field helped the hosts post a 5-2 victory.
“We started off the week wanting to get one win at a time and hopefully by the end of the week we have three wins,” MC head coach Stephen Hansen said. “That was our goal and we came up with that. It was a good week.”
Both teams recorded six hits for the game. However, the Mustangs (11-2, 3-0 region) were able to string theirs together. Plus, the Bobcats (2-8, 0-3) had the misfortune of Mountain Crest making some highlight-reel plays.
“It’s something that has kind of plagued us this year is just the simple plays, the routines plays, yet we are not making them,” SV head coach Todd Phillips said. “It ends up hurting us.”
The Bobcats stranded five runners in the game, including two in the top of the first frame.
The Mustangs had two outs with two runners on in the bottom of the first, but didn’t let the opportunity get away. Braydon Schiess smacked a two-run triple to deep right center to give the hosts the early 2-0 lead.
“We had some hits that were very much needed; they were clutch,” Schiess said. “When you get runners on, you need to smash the runs in. That’s a good way to get a win.”
Sky View got a run back in the second, but had a golden chance to get more. The Bobcats juiced the bags with no outs on singles by Tanner Martin and Derek Anthony. Alex Carling was hit by a pitch. Easton Howell drew the only walk that starting MC pitcher Lance Welch issued in the game to cut the deficit in half for the visitors.
Mustang right fielder Preston Jones caught a fly ball for the first out and gunned out a Bobcat trying to tag and go home as Schiess fielded the throw and made the tag to compete the double play.
“They (Bobcats) had us on the ropes with bases loaded and not outs,” Hansen said. “But we made a play there. That was big for us.”
Jones then made the third out by making a running catch to avoid any further damage.
“Steve (Hansen) does a great job with those kids,” Phillips said. “He makes sure they make the plays they need to make, supposed to make. You have to tip your cap to them. They make you earn everything.”
Sky View did take advantage of two fielding errors by the Mustangs in the fifth. Singles by Cole Watterson and Tate Bagley turned into extra bases. Watterson scored to tie the game on Bagley’s hit. But Welch ended the rally with a strikeout.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Mustangs put a rally together. Marco Bellantoni swatted an RBI double over the left fielder’s head. Bellantoni would later score on a throwing error to make it 4-2 for Mountain Crest.
The hosts added an insurance run in the sixth. Schiess led off with a hard-hit triple to the gap in right center that went to the fence. Schiess scored on a fielder’s choice by Caden Jones.
“Today I just kept it simple,” Schiess said. “I was thinking just hit the ball and go the other way and not do too much. I don’t think much. I just play the game of baseball as much as possible. My biggest thinking is not thinking much.”
The Bobcats got a lead off single in the seventh, but Welch enticed a fly out, struck the next batter out and ended the game with by getting a ground out. Welch struck out five for the win.
“We had to grind that game out,” Hansen said. “Marco Bellantoni came up with a couple of clutch at bats. Lance (Welch) didn’t have his best stuff today, but grinded it out and got a win for us. Sometimes that’s what you’ve got to do.”
Schiess and Bellantoni had two hits a piece for the Mustangs, as they had a pair of triples and doubles, respectively.
“It’s a great way to go into spring break,” Schiess said. “Then after spring break we are going to come out and go try and sweep some Green Canyon butt.”
Martin led the Bobcats with two hits. Watterson picked up the loss on the mound.
“We need to continue to get better each and every day,” Phillips said. “We need to clean up the little things and be focused at practice and continue to make ourselves better. We have some pretty good talent on this team.”
OTHER REGION GAMES
Green Canyon completed a sweep of Logan with a 4-2 win Friday at Worthington Park to keep pace with Mountain atop the region standings. On Thursday, Bear River avoided the sweep with a 8-3 victory over Ridgeline.
The Wolves (10-2, 3-0) scored all of their runs in the third inning and held the Grizzlies (2-10, 0-3) to just two hits. Green Canyon had 10 hits on the day and three errors, while Logan had two errors.
Ryker Ericson and Caleb Petersen had two-run hits in the fourth. Petersen’s base knock was a double. Ericson ended up with three hits for the game. Reece Hansen got the win on the bump as he struck out seven and walked two.
Vincent Rohrer and Kody Kirk had the two lone hits for Logan as each had an RBI. Kirk recorded a double. Nic Egbert struck out eight in the loss.
At Millville, the Bears (5-6, 1-2) scored first with two runs in the second, but then fell behind, 3-2, as the Riverhawks (7-5, 2-1) plated two runs in the third and another in the fourth. Bear River took control with three runs in the sixth and another trio in the seventh.
Four Riverhawk pitchers combined to allow 11 hits. Ridgeline had five base knocks for the game as Kole Jenson had one and two RBI.
Taden Marble led the Bears with three hits, four RBI and a double. He also picked up the win on the mound, striking out four.
Three valley teams were in action Friday with two facing each other. Preston welcomed Green Canyon north of the border and won 12-9. Ridgeline blanked Wasatch, 5-0.
The Indians (3-2) got off to quick start with eight runs in the bottom of the first on only two hits. Preston drew five bases on balls and took advantage of some errors.
The Wolves (5-8) made the game interesting with five runs in the third and two more in the fourth to get within 9-7. However, the hosts plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth to close the door on the win.
Preston had 11 hits for the game as Charly Bair led the way with three hits, a run, an RBI and a double. Megan Johnson added two hits, two runs and an RBI. Kendall Walker had two hits, two runs and an RBI. Jaycee Larson got the win in the circle as she struck out five and walked two.
“This was a nice win for our team,” Preston head coach Larry Morrison said. “It was a good learning day for our girls to see different speed pitchers, and our defense held strong when needed. This is a good group and we are headed in the right direction.”
Green Canyon did use three pitchers in the game as they combined to strike out 10 batters, but also issued eight walks. Rylee Ericson had three hits, two RBI and a double for the Wolves. Morgin Gittins, Kennedy Conan and Mcall Kaae each had two hits.
“We started off a little slow,” GC head coach Joe Astle said. “We battled back, but it was a little too late.”
At Millville, the Riverhawks (10-2) jumped on the Wasps (4-2) early with three runs in the bottom of the first. Kenzee Hale and Brinnley Anderson drew walks to start the game. Markessa Jensen brought them both home and herself with a three-run bomb over the center field fence. Ridgeline added insurance runs in the fourth and fifth on a RBI single by Hale and a RBI sacrifice fly by Shelby Blankenship.
Jensen went the distance in the circle, striking out 11 and issuing two walks. She allowed just four hits.
Hale and Kaylee Smith each had two hits and both scored a run.