In four games last week, including a tournament that included bigger schools, Gunnison Valley baseball improved to 6-1 on the season after three strong outings and one defined by uncharacteristic miscues.
In the home opener Tuesday, March 16, the Bulldogs won 11-1 against Millard, piling on runs early to eventually build a lead that surpassed the 10-run margin necessary to end the game early in the 5th inning.
“Overall, we really just did what we needed to do,” said Coach Max Sanders. On defense; with senior Janzen Keisel, junior Myles Bartholomew and senior Harley Hill on the mound; the team allowed only one run on two hits. On offense, five players batted in two runs each.
On Friday, the Bulldogs travelled to Kanab for the Chuckwagon Classic tournament. There, they lost the first game in the morning to Beaver, 1-11, before later defeating Providence Hall, 8-4. On Saturday, they defeated Kanab, 10-6.
Sanders said the game against Kanab was a defensive low point on the year so far with six errors, all of which led to runs and prolonged innings.
“[Errors] ended up costing us way too many runs,” he said. “We calculated that without the errors, we were only down two going into the sixth inning.”
But with those errors, Gunnison Valley was down 0-8 by the third inning.
Against Providence Hall Friday night, the coach was impressed with both teams’ performances.
“Providence Hall is probably one of the best lineups we’ve seen. They kind of gave Janzen fits,” he said. “It was kind of back-and-forth for most of it.”
If the dynamic of momentum in the game was back-and-forth, the scoring was more lopsided. Gunnison Valley went up 6-0 in the third inning and managed to hold the Patriots to just two two-run innings.
In this six-inning game, junior Tate King went 1 for 1 with a home run, two walks and two RBIs. Keisel went 2 for 3 with a triple and one RBI.
On Saturday night, senior Creed Mogle outlasted Kanab’s pitcher on the mound in what began as a pitcher’s duel and ended with Gunnison Valley outscoring the Cowboys in the final three innings 9-3.
“Creed Mogle pitched an absolute gem Saturday night against Kanab,” Sanders said. Mogle pitched efficiently to complete the six-inning game, while Bulldog hitters prolonged at-bats and forced Kanab to pull its starting pitcher in the fourth inning. Mogle struck out eight and allowed five hits and three walks.
On offense, King went 2 for 3 with a double and six RBIs. Sophomore Jake Sorenson hit a three-run home run.
Sanders was pleased to get “a lot of production throughout the weekend throughout the order,” noting especially key moments from Sorenson and sophomore Easton Newman.
This week, the coach anticipated trying to “get as many runs early as we can” at Monticello on Tuesday. On Friday, the Bulldogs travel to play 5A Payson.
“Payson is a good team, bigger school, but I think we’ll play into them really well with our bats and pitching,” Sanders said.