Baseball team suffers season-ending loss
May 19, 2009
Members of the Park City High School baseball team woke up Friday morning knowing that the day ahead of them was the most important of the season. The outcome of their two scheduled games would determine whether they would advance to the state semifinals for the first time.
The previous day, the Miners had battled Emery and Morgan in the playoffs and come home with two hard-fought victories.
The team traveled to Utah Valley University in Orem early Friday for its first matchup with Salem Hills. Both teams demonstrated their desire to get ahead early in the game. The Miners scored four runs in the first and second innings and the SkyHawks countered with a total of seven runs.
Senior Chris Shapard stepped in as a relief pitcher in the third inning and held the SkyHawks scoreless for the remainder of the game, allowing the Miners to come from behind and score five runs for a final score of 9-7.
"The key to coming up in the losers’ bracket is being deep in pitching, which we were, and we used guys based on the other team’s abilities at the plate," explained head coach Howard Hoyt. "We brought in Shapard because he throws a little bit different arm angle and a little bit harder, and we pulled out on top."
Following the victory, Park City had until 7 p.m. Friday to prepare for the quarterfinals against Cedar City, the same team that had beaten the Miners 7-1 the previous week in the playoffs, sending them into the losers’ bracket.
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The game started with gritty resolve on both sides to keeps runners from rounding the bases. Despite Park City’s four hits, the scoreboard remained gridlocked at 0-0 through the end of the third inning.
This was Park City’s third game against Cedar this season, and Hoyt said that the coaches decided to go with a different tactic this time. They put in first baseman David Feasler as pitcher, even though he had thrown only one game this season. "That turned out to be a good move," said Hoyt.
The Miners got the edge in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs. Senior Austin Molinaro made his way around the bases for the first run. Then, with Marshall Crawford on second base and David Snyder on first, Alex Thomas hit a triple, sending Crawford and Snyder home and bringing the score to 3-0.
Cedar scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth and prevented Park City from scoring in the top of the fifth.
Then it was the Redmen’s shot at a comeback. Using strategic hitting to load the bases, Cedar squeezed four runs in the fifth inning to bring the score to 5-3.
The Cedar pitcher kept the Miners off the bases in the sixth inning and the Redmen scored their sixth run after slipping a hit between the Miners’ infielders.
Park City was feeling the pressure in the final inning. Senior Parker Morin started off the inning with a single. Pinch baserunner David Snyder made it to second on a passed ball and stole third. Shapard came to bat and hit a double, sending Snyder home.
However, two consecutive strikeouts ended the game and the Miners’ season at 6-4.
Alex Thomas, one of the nine graduating seniors from Park City, said it was an emotional loss for the team. "We’ve all been playing together since middle school, so it’s tough to know that you’re not going to play with those people ever again," he said. "We were a little tired from playing back-to-back games, but overall I think we played well. It was a good way to go out."
"All in all, we would’ve liked to have gone to the semifinals, but the fact of the matter is, it was just a slugfest and Cedar came out on top," said Coach Hoyt. "We just kind of ran out of innings. We had come from behind on three other games, but this one we just ran out of juice. With a nine-inning game, who knows? It could’ve gone either way."
Hoyt noted that the Miners had faced fierce competition in their region on their way to the quarterfinals. In the final week of the playoffs, three of the six Region 10 teams (Park City, Judge and Wasatch) were still in the running.
"This is the best team Park City has put out there and this is the furthest we’ve gone in the state tournament," said Hoyt. "Above all the wins and loses, the way we represented the region and the way we represented Park City was fantastic."