Miners Baseball Dominates Murray, Moves Record to 12-3

Will+Bradley+batting+for+Park+City+in+the+bottom+of+the+sixth+inning.

Will Bradley batting for Park City in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Brewster Hutchinson, Sports Editor

On Wednesday, April 20th, the Miners hosted the Murray Spartans in game two of their three game series this week. After a slow start from both sides, the Miners got their offense going and cruised to a 10-1 blowout victory.

 

In game one of the series on Tuesday at Murray High, the Spartans were able to escape with a tight 3-2 victory, handing the Miners just their third loss of the 2022 season. The Miners’ two runs scored was the least they’d scored in any game yet this season. However, the Miners were able to turn around the next day and forcibly take game two at home, winning by nine runs and holding Murray’s offense to an underwhelming single run.

 

The Miners offense started out hot in the bottom of the first inning, as junior Braxton Lyon led the inning off with a hard-hit double. Lyon’s hit was soon followed by an RBI single from freshman Justin Michaelis, putting the Miners up 1-0 early. 

 

After two and a half more scoreless innings, Park City got it rolling in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a leadoff walk from senior Jake Rodgers, junior Will Bradley was able to reach first on an impressive bunt single, advancing Rodgers to second. Another Miner bunt ensued, advancing the runners to second and third with only one out. Sophomore Will McCurdy laid down a third straight bunt. Rodgers was able to score from third after a play at the plate, putting the Miners up 2-0. 

 

The scoring didn’t stop there, as Bradley was able to tag up and score on a sacrifice fly from Lyon. Junior Dave Georger then reached first safely on a hard-hit infield single, putting runners on first and third. Michaelis, batting third, came through with a huge double into the right field gap, scoring both McCurdy and Georger and putting Park City on top 5-0. The four-run inning ended after Michaelis was caught stealing, but it was clear Park City had their bats going strong.

 

Murray managed to notch their only run of the evening in the bottom of the second, after Murray hit an RBI double off of junior reliever Asher Levine, who had come in to pitch for Lyon after his dominant 5 and ⅔ scoreless innings. The inning ended after the next at-bat, and Park City would not give up another run from then on. 

 

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Murray replaced their starting pitcher, sophomore Kason Bleckert, with reliever Kyler Nielson, a senior. He walked sophomore Jake Diamond to lead off the bottom of the inning, who took first and promptly stole second after a wild pitch. Lyon shot a hard hit ball into the outfield, recording his second double of the night and scoring Diamond from second. Michaelis then added another double, scoring Lyon and recording his second double and fourth RBI of the evening. Following a walk by junior Paxton Mobley, Levine hit a huge double to left-center, scoring both Michaelis and Mobley. A Jake Rodgers two-out single scored Levine from second, pushing the score to 10-1 and capping off an impressive 5-run frame from Park City.

 

Levine was able to close out the top of the seventh inning by efficiently shutting down three straight Spartans, earning his seventh save of the season and lowering his ERA (earned run average) to an impressive 0.98 in 21 and ⅓ innings pitched. That number ranks third-lowest in Utah 5A baseball, and his teammate Braxton Lyon comes in at sixth-lowest in 5A, with an ERA of 1.34.

 

This was the fewest runs Park City had allowed all season. Their pitching was dominant almost all game, and their impressive defensive efforts were highlighted by a couple of memorable plays. In the top of the fourth, a Murray hitter grounded a ball towards Georger at second base, who quickly flipped it to Bradley at second for the first out, who then gunned it to Michaelis at first to close out the crafty double-play. In the top of the sixth, Mobley made an incredible layout catch on a fly ball into left-center field to secure the out.

 

The comfortable win for the Miners raised their record to 12-3 on the season. Park City holds a 7-1 region record, after sweeping Highland and Brighton in their three-game series earlier in the month. Park City currently holds sole possession of first place in 5A Region 6, but is closely trailed by Olympus High who is currently riding an eight-game win streak. Park City and Olympus will face off during the first week of May. The Miners will be at home during that series on Tuesday, May 3rd and Friday, May 6th. 

 

On Friday, April 22, Park City will once again travel down the Canyon to try and take the series from the Spartans in game three. Head Coach David Feasler was uncertain about who will start on Friday, but mentioned that the plan was for freshman Jakob DeVries to make his fourth appearance on the mound. DeVries currently holds a 2-0 record as a pitcher. 

 

Feasler said that an important factor in the Miners’ future success is the continuation of their current strategy going into tough region series against both Skyline and Olympus.

 

“The key to success is to keep focusing on what we’ve been focusing on. Pitching and defense are going to win us a lot of baseball games. We’re not going to score ten runs in every baseball game, but if you give up one or two runs, you’re going to win a lot of baseball games.”

 

Feasler also added that this year’s team is a very complete offensive team mixed with a deep bullpen full of capable pitchers.

 

“[On offense,] there are four impact guys, there are table-setters, and there are role players. It’s a complete offense … [When it comes to pitching,] we’re deeper than anybody we’ve played on the mound. Pitching depth, especially when you get to the state tournament, is so key. There’s eight or nine guys I trust throwing in a varsity game.”