Scott Stokes watched from the dugout as his Park City High School teammates continued their offensive dominance in the bottom of the sixth inning of game one of Tuesday's doubleheader against Morgan at PCHS.
Parker Smith led off the inning by drawing a walk. Jack Lecher followed with a single. Then Ian Moritz drew a walk to load the bases. Next, Chandler Barkdull was walked, driving in a run. Ditto, Griffin Churich. Chandler Anderson then delivered a big blow to the Trojans, walloping a two-run double to put the Miners ahead 7-0.
Stokes, who was battling a sore back, had pitched the first six innings for Park City, holding Morgan to just three hits. With two men still on base and Blake Morin coming to the plate, he was hoping the Miners would go up by 10 runs so he wouldn't have to pitch another inning.
Morin didn't disappoint, smashing a triple to the outfield wall to score both Churich and Anderson and put himself, the game-clinching run, 90 feet away from home plate.
After Stokes grounded out to third and Jaxon Hermansen drew a walk and stole second base, Smith came to the plate for the second time in the inning. A line drive through the infield was all it took for Morin to trot home and give the Miners a 10-0 victory.
"That felt amazing," Stokes said. "I don't know if I could have gone another inning."
Park City coach Lou Green knew his team had a chance to put up a big inning after knocking the Morgan starter out of the game after four innings of work.
"That's our biggest goal every game knock the starting pitcher out," he said. "In high school, there are very few staffs in the country who can go to their bullpen and be better than their starter. It just doesn't happen in high school. In the big leagues and college, you've got those guys in the bullpen throwing 99 [mph]. In high school, you're usually going to a sophomore with no innings."
Saving Stokes an extra inning of work will pay off down the stretch, Green added.
"It just lets your pitcher breathe easy," he said.
Churich led the Miners at the plate, reaching base in each of his four at-bats. He drew two walks, laid down a bunt single and smacked a double. Anderson and Morin each had three RBI to lead Park City in that category.
Green said moving Churich from the ninth spot to the second spot in the batting order has paid dividends.
"It's been a good move," he said. "He's swung the bat well in the two hole. He's just a good hitter he'd look the same in the three hole or the one hole or the five hole. Griff's approach is inside-out he's his best when he's thinking left-center. When his approach stays there, he does a really nice job."
But, he added, Moritz, the new number nine hitter, has done a fantastic job filling in for Churich.
"The nine hole, for us, is huge because our lineup is stacked so front-heavy," he said. "We need somebody there who can turn that around for us and get us back to the front. Ian turned the lineup over and gave Barkdull [the leadoff hitter] a chance three different times today in two games. That's huge."
In the second game of the doubleheader, Morin took the hill for Park City. But, after breezing through two-and-two-thirds innings, his sore arm and injured knee caused him to lose his trademark control. After walking the bases loaded, Anderson came on in relief. He minimized the threat over the next few innings and the Miners claimed a 9-4 lead to sweep the doubleheader.
"I'd say the bright spot of this series was probably Chandler Anderson's pitching," Green said. "He's a guy who hasn't pitched a ton. For him to come in and give us four-and-a-third innings, that's huge. It was great to see him come in and pound the zone in a tough spot. You come in with the bases loaded that's a tough spot to be in."
Though the Miners took both games at home on Tuesday, they fell to Morgan 6-5 on Monday in Morgan. Green said it's disappointing that Park City hasn't been able to pick up a three-game sweep against a Region 10 opponent yet.
"[Monday], we had six walks, four hit batters, three errors and lost 6-5 to a club we're obviously better than," he said. "We just keep getting these two-out-of-three deals it's frustrating. If we were in the big leagues, it would be great. If you win two out of three in the big leagues every time, you're the best team in baseball. But two out of three in our league just doesn't get it done because Juan Diego is just walking through people."
But, he added, now that Park City has a week off, he's hoping to get some players healthy for the stretch run.
"The biggest thing right now is we've got to get healthy," he said. "Everybody is banged up Scott Stokes is on a bad back, Blake Morin is on a bad arm and a bad knee. Chandler Barkdull banged his thumb up and rolled his ankle. It'd be nice to get healthy."
Then, Green hopes, the Miners will finally be able to pick up that elusive three-game sweep against Union in a couple weeks.
"If our pitchers throw strikes, we should take three from everyone," he said. "That's just how I feel. I don't care if the New York Yankees roll into town if we throw strikes and play defense, we should have a chance to win."
Park City (15-5 overall, 5-3 in Region 10) will play a non-region game at home against Skyline on Tuesday. The game is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. at PCHS. The Miners will resume region play at Union on April 29.