Leading up to the end of the regular season, batters for the 18-1 Gunnison Valley baseball team are swinging hot bats, and the defense remains stellar.
After defeating North Sanpete last Wednesday, 17-6, and Beaver the next day, 9-4, the Bulldogs have averaged more than 13 runs per game over the last five games.
“We were finding gaps,” Coach Max Sanders said about the game against North Sanpete in which the Bulldogs scored all of its 17 runs in four innings.
In addition to base hits and balls that rolled past Hawk fielders, three Bulldogs combined for five home runs. Janzen Keisel and Ryker Stewart each hit two, and Creed Mogle hit one.
Keisel’s first of the pair extended a streak of five games with a home run. His second came on the pitch immediately following Mogle’s home run.
Sanders said after the second, he joked with Keisel about the streak, saying, “That had better not be the home run you were supposed to hit against Beaver.”
Despite scoring nine runs, no home runs were hit by either team on Thursday at Beaver.
Gunnison jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning after a pair of innings with two runs. Beaver made it a one-run game in the fourth inning, 5-4, but Gunnison Valley pulled away by scoring four more runs spread over the final three innings.
“Offensively, we were good again. Janzen was good on the mound, but not great like he has been, so our offense picked him up in kind of a big way,” Sanders said.
In both games last week, the opposing teams intentionally walked Keisel at least once, including to load the bases. Those walks gave Tate King big opportunities, which he used to drive in runs.
“He’s been really good to be the guy to handle the pressure after intentional walks to Janzen. It’s really good for him,” the coach said.
At Beaver, Keisel and Stewart were among offensive leaders again with two doubles each. King went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs, and Harley Hill went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
“[The Beaver] game was a bit more intense than we were used to, which was good,” Sanders said in reference to the playoffs approaching.
Yesterday, the Bulldogs hosted South Sevier for senior night, which occurred after publication.
That was supposed to be the second-to-last game of the regular season, as Gunnison Valley was scheduled to travel to Manti. Manti had to cancel the game after a rescheduling of a regional game conflicted.
The first two rounds of the playoffs are scheduled for this Saturday. As the presumed top seed, Gunnison Valley will have a bye in the first round.
Saturday morning, the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds will face off, the winner of which will face Gunnison Valley later that day at 4:00. The winner will advance to the quarterfinal.