Park City fails to slide past Utes
Park City head coach Howard Hoyt figured two runs would have made all of the difference in Park City’s 8-2 loss to the Uintah Utes on Tuesday.
"If we could have gone up four runs in the first inning, it would have changed everything," Hoyt said. "Mentally, a four-run lead would have been huge."
In the first inning of the game, the Miners went up by two runs, but also made two mistakes. The first came when a runner thought he was ruled out and was not and was tagged running from second base. The second mistake was also committed when the runner overran second base and was tagged out. Had those two runners gone ahead to score, the Miners would have been sitting on a comfortable four-run lead to start out the game. Instead, their hopes were hung on two.
The Miners seemed to be able to maintain their slight lead with tight defense in the preceding innings, until the Utes were able to break loose scoring four runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, two big hits to the left field wall gave the Utes the slight edge, but it was a big hit in the sixth inning with bases loaded that really dampened the Miners hopes.
"It’s a bad combo when you walk a few guys, they get some hits and the defense breaks down," Hoyt said.
With just two innings left to fight back, the Miners struggled offensively, but never scored again.
The Utes’ Landon Lucero pitched a complete game, giving up three hits and two runs. Hoyt said that the Miners had hoped to rattle Lucero a bit, but once he had the confidence of his offense behind him, his pitching only improved.
The Utes will get a break from another menace on the mound when their bitter rival Judge rolls into town on Friday. Joe Pond, the Bulldogs’ star player, will not pitching against Park City, giving the Miners a bit of a reprieve and the opportunity to try and earn one last win before heading to the state playoffs.
The Miners were shutout 9-0 after falling to recover from a tough first inning in their first matchup against the Bulldogs. This time around, with both the shutout and Uintah loss both fresh in their minds, Hoyt says the Miners are looking to play their best game against their nemesis.
"They’re always up for the Judge Memorial game," Hoyt said. "There’s a little something extra."
Scott Neuenschwander, who got his first start against Morgan last Friday, will get the nod at pitcher. Hoyt says that he is excited to see some of his younger players get the chance to shine in one of the biggest games of the season.
As the Region 10 end-of-season standings continue to shake out this week, Park City is guaranteed at least the No. 4 seed heading into the playoffs. Hoyt says that all of the possible teams that the Miners could match up with are beatable, so they have been more focused on just getting to the state tournament rather than in what position.
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