Do-or-die time for PCHS baseball team
Live to fight another day.
That’s the motto of the Park City High School baseball team, which advanced farther in the 3A state tournament with a first-round win over Richfield Saturday morning at Juan Diego Catholic High School.
The Miners jumped all over the Wildcats, at one point owning an 8-0 lead, before eventually moving on with a 10-5 win. Starting pitcher Gabe Cohen had a perfect game through four innings and also had two hits, as did seniors Skyler Barkdull and Robert Cashel.
Things were fast on the diamond, just the way head coach Lou Green likes it.
"We just came out on fire, a lot of intensity," he said. "That’s our style. Those are the games this year where we’ve been able to take care of business fairly easily."
Said Green of his starter, "Gabe was just shutting them down. Other than one pitch (a home run to the short porch in right field), he threw a gem. He did exactly what we wanted him to do, especially as far as pitching with the lead. Up 8-0, he’s in there pumping strikes."
After the win secured Park City’s berth in this week’s tournament in St. George, the Miners advanced Saturday afternoon to face the defending 3A state champs, Juan Diego.
With the Miners holding a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning, a questionable call on an attempted pick-off move at second base left the Soaring Eagle with the bases loaded with two outs and Juan Diego took advantage with five runs in the inning taking a 6-3 lead. The Soaring Eagle ended up busting the game wide open in the fifth inning and eventually winning 13-3.
While all the Miners needed was one win to advance to St. George, Green said seeing Juan Diego early on could help them, should they see the Soaring Eagle again later on in the tournament.
The Miners will be without their ace left-handed starting pitcher Conner Lagnese, who will miss the remainder of the season with a broken bone in his throwing wrist.
He is scheduled to undergo surgery this week to fix the break and will be out of baseball action for at least six weeks, Green said.
"He’s finished," Green said. "That’s a big hit. He broke a small bone in his wrist. They’ll have to put a screw or pin in it, I think."
Now, as Park City enters the losers’ bracket of the 3A state tournament, the hard work begins. Over a three-day span, the Miners will need to win seven games to win the title. A loss sends the Miners packing.
The first step on the road is Bear River (14-7) Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in St. George.
The Bears are a formidable foe, Green says, but he hasn’t seen or heard anything out of the ordinary in terms of matchups.
"They have a couple tough guys," Green said.
Park City won’t lack motivation for this one, either.
Last year, Bear River eliminated the Miners from the playoffs with a dramatic come-from-behind win, scoring three runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to beat Park City 12-11.
"Hopefully we do the same thing to them this year," Green said. "They’ll see our best. The intensity will be there."
If the Miners advance past the Bears, they’ll face the winner of the Cedar-Emery game at 7 p.m. Thursday.
One plus is that the temperature won’t be approaching triple digits. The forecast for Thursday through Saturday in St. George is for temperatures below 80 degrees.
"It’s a lot better than 100 (degrees)," Green said.
While Lagnese’s absence will be noticeable, Park City’s head coach said he is preparing every one of his arms, as he did last week, for battle.
"I like our chances," Green said. "The big thing is losing our ace. We have to win seven games in three days to win a state championship. That’s a tough road, but I think we’ve got some guys who can give us some innings, we’ll be fine."
And as for a rotation-by-committee?
"It’s going to be ‘Johnny Wholestaff’," Green joked.
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