SMITHFIELD — Despite their less-than-ideal record, the Bobcats have shown flashes of being a good baseball team this season.
It was apparent two weeks ago when Sky View took Mountain Crest down to the wire twice, and even more so the following week when the Bobcats prevailed in the opener of their three-game series against perennial region power Bear River.
Nevertheless, Sky View had yet to really experience a breakthrough, but that changed this week. Cole Watterson pitched a complete-game shutout and the Bobcats earned a 4-0 victory over Green Canyon on Friday.
In the process, the Bobcats won their first Region 11 series this spring and they did it against a formidable opponent, to boot. Sky View (5-12, 3-6) also beat Green Canyon (13-6, 5-4) in Tuesday’s opener before the Wolves bounced back Wednesday.
“We’re a lot better team than our record really shows,” SV head coach Todd Phillips said. “You know, we have a lot of talent with these kids and we just haven’t played to our ability and (our potential) kind of showed in this series. I would have been nice to get the sweep, but we didn’t play the way we needed to, to get the win on Wednesday. But this was a great team win, a great team win for our boys.”
It was arguably Sky View’s most gratifying win this spring, and it started with Watterson’s ability to throw strikes and trust in his defense. No. 7 only struck out two batters, but didn’t walk a single Green Canyon player, plus only allowed three hits — all singles.
“It felt really good,” Watterson said. “I didn’t have a lot of strikeouts and my defense worked for me really hard. ... Everybody played (well defensively). I don’t think we had an error out there, so it was really awesome.”
It was also a solid pitching performance from Green Canyon counterpart Abe Olson who, like Watterson, was able to consistently throw strikes Friday. Olson didn’t issue any bases on balls until the bottom of the seventh and 71 percent of his first pitches went for strikes.
“He pitched really well,” GC head coach Ryan Eborn said. “He sprinkled the hits around and he only walked two guys, and the were kind of strategic walks there in that sixth inning, so he was money for us. I’m very pleased with what we saw from Abe today.”
It was a 1-0 ballgame until Sky View came through with three runs in the home half of the sixth. A double steal by Stetsen Karren and Cole Lundahl helped set the tone, and Alex Carling drove them both in with a single. Taft Chambers then smacked a double to deep right field, and scored on a base knock down the third-base line by Derek Anthony.
Chambers and Anthony, Sky View’s No. 8 and 9 batters, both contributed with two hits Friday, as did Tanner Martin. Martin gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on a clutch two-out double to deep left-center. Anthony doubled as well.
The Bobcats have struck out a bunch in several of the games they’ve lost this season, but only twice Friday did they fail to put the ball in play.
“Well, it was actually something that we worked on Thursday was our two-strike approach and being able to put the ball in play,” Phillips said. “We allow ourselves to get out a little too much and we’ve had a lot of the backwards Ks this season. And we kind of talked about that and addressed that issue, and so it was nice to be able to see two big hits today that were two-strike approach hits.”
Sky View finished with eight base knocks and only committed one error — a hustle play that gave the Wolves one extra base.
The Wolves got singles from Olson, Caleb Petersen and Ryker Ericson. Green Canyon’s best chance to score was in the top of the fourth when Reece Hansen laced a Watterson offering to deep left-center, but it was tracked down by Chambers.
Ridgeline made a big statement this week by capping off a sweep of Mountain Crest, this time by a 10-5 scoreline in Hyrum, while Logan hosted Bear River and prevailed for the first time in region play. The Grizzlies were triumphant, 9-6.
Mountain Crest had no answer for the 1-2 Ridgeline punch of Braxton Gill and Jaxen Hollingsworth, who teamed up to go 8 for 10 at the plate. Both players doubled, Hollingsworth drove in four runs and Gill scored three times.
Davis Fullmer came through with a two-run double for the Riverhawks (13-5, 8-1), who now have a commanding three-game lead in the region race. Kole Jenson also contributed with a pair of RBIs for Ridgeline, which got two runs from Evan Webb and Jaden Harris.
Jakob Astle pitched four and two-thirds innings for the Riverhawks, scattered five hits, fanned four and issued for free passes.
“We have talked a lot about how important it is to show up to the games with a lot of energy and focus, and to get off to a good start,” said RHS head coach Paul Bowler said, whose team put four runs up in the top of the first. “We did that today and it helped carry us through the game. I’m really happy with how we played this week and winning all three games in this series was great. They are a really good team and that was really exciting high school baseball.”
Dax Roundy and Caden Jones both finished with two hits, one run and one RBI for the Mustangs (13-6, 5-4).
Meanwhile, Logan lost a 5-0 lead to Bear River as the Bears (11-8, 5-4) put a six-spot on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth, but the Grizzlies (4-14, 1-8) responded by plating three runs in their half of the inning.
Logan accumulated 10 hits, including three from Kellen Roper, who doubled and crossed home plate three times. Michael Cabrera chipped in with two hits and three RBIs for the Grizzlies, who got a pair of hits from Vincent Rohrer and a pair of runs from Jack Fjeldsted.
“We had a game where we put together some pitching, defense and hitting,” LHS head coach Britton Coil said. “We stayed composed after they went on a run and (we) answered right back. I was happy with the way we played and very proud of Nic Egbert for battling on the mound through seven innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam early in the game with three straight strikeouts.”
Bear River, Mountain Crest and Green Canyon are tied for second in the region standings.