Snow flies, but Bulldogs weather storm, get two wins

Ben Lasseter / Messenger Photo
Senior Talon Belnap delivers a pitch to a Monticello batter in the bottom of the third inning. At first base, sophomore Parker Sanders is one of the only players on either team in short sleeves.

Working around a week impacted by weather, the Gunnison Valley baseball team notched wins in one blowout and one close game to improve to 8-1.

They beat Monticello, 19-0, on Tuesday, March 23 in four and a half innings. Saturday morning, Gunnison Valley prevailed over 5A Payson, 4-3, after the game was rescheduled from Friday night.

“We’ll take it,” Bulldogs Coach Max Sanders said on the 8-1 start. “This is where we kind of wanted to be.”

Against Monticello, 16 players got at least one plate appearance. Senior Ryker Stewart led with two hits, including a home run, and four RBIs. Sophomores Jake Sorenson and Zach Brackett each chipped in a double. The Bulldogs ended the second inning up 12-0.

Ben Lasseter / Messenger Photo
Sophomore Easton Newman (11) tries to keep warm while playing against Monticello as snow and wind blow through Gunnison Tuesday, March 23. Behind, sophomore Kyler Cox paces in the outfield while waiting on the next pitch.

The game took place on a particularly chilly day with the threat of a snowstorm looming. The snow came and was falling for about two innings but never caused play to stop.

Sanders said Payson was “what you would expect out of a bigger school.” He complimented their two pitchers for their accuracy with high velocity.

But Gunnison Valley senior Janzen Keisel, considered by some as one of the top pitchers in the state, gave a strong 5-inning outing and earned the win. Senior Creed Mogle finished the pitching effort with two runs allowed in two innings.

Hill drove Mogle in for the team’s fourth run in the top of the seventh inning. This proved to be the “breathing room” they needed, Sanders said, as the run Payson scored in the bottom of the inning was one shy of tying the game.

“We did a lot of little things right,” Sanders said. “There were never really any big innings. It was just more good little baseball that we did well.”

One run came from a squeeze bunt by senior Thatcher Stewart, or a play in which a runner steals home and relies on the batter to lay down a bunt. Junior Pate King was “good again on offense, as usual,” according to the coach.

The Bulldogs have this week off for spring break. In April, they will face more regional opponents than the three games they played in March, including two against Millard. Gunnison will kick off three straight weeks with three games each on Tuesday, April 6 against North Sevier.