HYRUM — Simply put, it was exactly the kind of baseball game one would expect involving a pair of talented pitchers and two legitimate region title contenders.
Ridgeline’s Jaden Harris and Mountain Crest’s Braydon Schiess displayed a great deal of mental toughness after giving up home runs, and both went seven complete innings on the mound. It took two extra frames to decide a victor and Carter Gill came through with a bases-clearing triple in the top of the ninth to lift the Riverhawks to a hard-fought 6-4 victory over the Mustangs on a sunny Tuesday afternoon at The Yard.
Both teams were tied for first place in the Region 11 standings heading into Tuesday’s showdown. The Riverhawks (11-5, 6-1) and Mustangs (13-4, 5-2) will resume their three-game series on Wednesday in Millville.
“That was good, exciting baseball and I was happy with how we kept grinding away at things,” RHS head coach Paul Bowler said. “It always feels good to get a win and I expect two more good games (in this series).”
The Riverhawks, victorious in eight of their last nine outings, certainly got off to the start they were hoping for. Braxton Gill hit a lead-off single in the top of the first for the visitors and scored on a Mustang error. Three batters later, Harris deposited a Schiess offering over the 365-foot sign in right-center for a two-run bomb, giving Ridgeline a 3-0 lead.
To his credit, Schiess’ response was outstanding as he held Ridgeline hitless in his other six innings on the bump. No. 16 allowed just the two hits, struck out six and scattered five walks.
The Mustangs also found a way to manufacture a couple of runs off Harris, plus Preston Jones tied things up in the bottom of the fourth on an impressive solo shot over the fence in left.
Mountain Crest scored twice in the fourth frame — the first time on a Ridgeline error. Lance Welch came through with a double down the left-field line, and a Dax Roundy sacrifice fly brought home the Mustangs’ second run. Roundy made a couple of really good defensive plays as a first baseman Tuesday, including an inning-ending double play in the top of the sixth.
“It was a great game, with two very good pitchers going at it,” MC head coach Stephen Hansen said. “They ended up getting one more clutch hit than we did. I was proud of the team on the way they battled back and didn’t panic after giving up three runs in the first inning. It is going to be another good game tomorrow.”
Like Schiess, Harris was undaunted after Jones went deep on him. The future University of Utah pitcher responded by holding the Mustangs hitless in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames. Additionally, Harris fanned five of the final six batters he faced. No. 3 gave up three base knocks, struck out 10 and walked three before giving way to Branson Jones.
Jones also came up big for the Riverhawks as he only gave up one hit and two walks in his two scoreless innings in relief.
“Jaden pitches with a lot of maturity and Branson Jones has finished games for us with a lot of confidence,” Bowler said.
Harris walked for the second time in the contest, Cam Bott singled and Davis Fullmer was hit by a pitch in the visitors’ half of the ninth, setting the stage for Gill, who drove a pitch to deep left-center for his aforementioned massive bases-clearing triple.
An infield single by JC Jones, coupled with a Ridgeline throwing error allowed the Mustangs to pare their deficit to 6-4 in the bottom of the ninth, but that’s as close as the hosts would get.
The Riverhawks and Mustangs committed three errors apiece, but solid defense by both teams helped offset that.
OTHER BASEBALL GAMES
Sky View earned a gratifying 6-2 win over visiting Green Canyon, Bear River traveled to Logan and left with a 6-3 victory, and Preston thumped Bear Lake 18-0 on the road.
The Bobcats (4-11, 2-5) plated five of their runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take control against the Wolves (12-5, 4-3). Sky View outhit Green Canyon 7-2 and committed three fewer errors than the visitors, 4-1.
Tate Bagley doubled, singled and drove in three runs for the Bobcats, who got a pair of runs and hits from Derek Anthony and a double from Cole Watterson. Cole Lundahl went the distance on the mound for Sky View, sat down three and walked three.
“It was a great team win for us,” SV head coach Todd Phillips said. “Cole Lundahl did a great job on the mound mixing up his pitches and we played good defense behind him. We got timely hitting throughout the game.”
Caleb Petersen singled and scored a run for Green Canyon, which also got a single from Ryker Ericson.
The Grizzlies (2-14, 0-7) had no answer for Bear River’s Ashton Harrow, who went 4 for 4 at the plate, with three RBIs. Easton Lish also pitched a good game for the Bears (10-7, 4-3).
Kellen Roper, Manase Tupou, Boede Rudd and Cooper Pond all singled for Logan, and Pond and Roper also scored. Jaxon Arthur pitched six solid innings for the hosts as he scattered seven hits, fanned four and walked one.
Meanwhile, Bear Lake was no match for Preston — just like it wasn’t earlier this season. The Indians (9-7) have outscored the Bears (1-7-1) 52-3 in three games this spring.
Preston racked up 13 base knocks, including two apiece from Ashton Madsen, Justin Inglet, Davon Inglet and Trevyn Hadley. Justin Inglet scored a trio of runs, while Davon Inglet and Madsen both contributed with a pair of runs and RBIs. Justin Inglet doubled and tripled, and teammate Seth Burbank doubled and finished with two RBIs.
Preston pitchers Chayse Oxborrow, Zeth Groll and Tate Greene teamed up for the shutout and only yielded two hits. The trio struck out five and walked none.
Sky View’s Taydem Neal was selected as the Region 11 Hitter of the Week, while Harris and Bear River’s Harrow shared the Pitcher of the Week award.
Neal batted a whopping .700 (7 for 10) in a three-game series against the Bears and chipped in with four runs, two doubles and two RBIs.
Harris threw a complete-game one-hit shutout against Logan and amassed 15 strikeouts, while Harrow came through with a five-inning no-hitter against Sky View. Harrow fanned two and didn’t allow any free passes.