Miner hardballers steal win in Grantsville
A scoreless ballgame spoke of the crisp defense each team played through the fourth-inning in Grantsville.
The stalemate was broken when a controversial call in the bottom of the fourth sparked a 1-0 lead, which appeared to be the winning run for Grantsville over the Park City High School baseball team Monday night.
But the Miners would claw back and fought out a 3-2 victory that wasn’t decided until the final inning. Park City is now 3-1 after a weekend in Moab.
"It didn’t get us down," said Howard Hoyt, Miners head coach, speaking of the early deficit.
Each team threatened to score early in the contest with men on base, but when it came to crunch time, the players wouldn’t let the other team score.
The fourth-inning appeared to be more of the same. With two outs, senior pitcher Ricky Mallot, who already threw two strikes to Grantsville slugger Steven Shepherd, stepped to the mound. He aimed into catcher Parker Morin’s glove and delivered a fastball. The Park City crowd cheered and Mallot ran to the dugout thinking he delivered his fourth strikeout to send the game into the fifth-inning.
The umpire stood motionless, however, and told Mallot and the other Miners to go back to the field because the pitch was a ball.
"When it’s a strike, you’ll know about it," the umpire yelled to the Miner dugout.
Mallot returned to the mound again disgusted with the call. This time, Shepherd was ready. Shepherd connected with Mallot’s next throw and made it to first base. The next Grantsville batter, Garrett Giles, connected as well and sent Shepherd home, scoring the game’s first run as the home crowd celebrated.
Mallot returned to form however, and struck out the next batter. The fifth inning went scoreless again, partly because of Wacy Sorenson, the senior pitcher for the Cowboys. He played with the Park City High School summer baseball league and seemed to know the tendencies of Park City’s sluggers.
"We know this guy, the team has hung out with him and they knew what kind of pitcher he would be, and he did a terrific job. I give props to him and props to our guys as well." Hoyt said.
Hoyt said if Sorenson was an average pitcher, the familiarity would go to the batters.
"But he’s not any average pitcher," Hoyt said. "He’s a smart cat. He doesn’t have a lot of speed, but he knows his locations and how to make use of his pitches."
The players had fun facing their old teammate too.
"It’s more fun, the intensity is up," said Brett Sanchez, Park City senior third baseman. "If he strikes us out, he can call us up and talk trash and the same for us if we can get a hit off of him."
But in the sixth-inning, Park City found its rhythm and figured out Sorenson’s magic.
With a Cowboys 1-0 lead, Park City senior Andrew Hoyt hit a double. Junior Danny Castellanos followed Hoyt’s hit with one of his own in right field. Hoyt sprinted to third and rounded the corner heading for home. Grantsville’s right fielder flung the ball to the catcher standing at home plate. Hoyt dove into the home base, spraying dust as the ball reached the catcher’s mitt and the umpire spread his arms with the "safe" sign.
"We had to go all out," Andrew said.
Morin then stepped up to the plate and created a similar result. He hit a double and Castellanos was able to get his feet on home plate to put Park City up 2-1.
The series played out almost perfectly to the head coach’s goals for the team.
"We set a goal of two runs for every run they get," Howard Hoyt said. "If they score a run we need to score three. If they don’t score, we need to score two."
In the bottom of the seventh-inning, the Cowboys came back.
Giles was able to make another offensive move and scored to tie the game at 2-2 going into the final inning. That’s when Park City showed its toughness.
Park City junior Greg Method scored off of a Mallot triple to set the score at 3-2. Andrew Hoyt relived Mallot’s pitching duties and delivered a no-hitter inning and finishing the game with a final strikeout.
"I need to get this out, and I focused on one pitch at a time," said Andrew regarding the last inning.
"Our pitching staff is deep," Howard said. "Andrew came in and closed. Parker (Morin) lit it up today. It was a great game; it was a lot of fun for our team and a lot of fun for the fans."
Past experience together helped the Miners overcome some adversity and perform under pressure, according to Howard.
They’ve played together now for four years," Howard said. "They are smart, they know the game. Sometimes even the coaching staff doesn’t know what to do in some situations, but these guys, they know exactly what to do."
Andrew believes this team could do something special in this, his final, year.
"This team’s come a long way, as long as we work, we deserve a good year this year. This is the best team I’ve played on."
Howard says in the few games played so far in the young season, he sees a lot of potential, mainly because of the development of the players.
"Three weeks ago, if you would have asked me, I would have said there would only be three to five players that we’d talk about," Howard said. "Now, any nine or 10 on this team we will be talking about."
Howard says there were errors his team made through the contest, but they were expected.
"I expect physical mistakes at this time of year," Howard said. "This is our third time outside playing. We’ll go down to St. George next weekend and by the end of that tournament, we’ll be close to region level of play."
As his team improves, Howard’s goal for his players is to have a fun experience.
"This is high school baseball, it should be fun," Howard said. "They shouldn’t be hanging their head. There are only a few players that will go past this level."
With having fun, Howard also expects the team will succeed and this is its year.
"This is my fifth year with the team and the first as head coach," Howard said. "Not to say we don’t have a talented underclass, but if anything will happen, it’ll probably happen this year. We just can’t replace the senior leadership that we’ll lose after this season."
The Park City High School Baseball Team’s next game will take place in a tournament in St. George this weekend.
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