PCHS baseball: Miners are staying humble despite hot start
March 27, 2012
Ten games into the 2012 season, the Park City High School baseball team is turning heads.
Coming off an18-4 road romp over 4A East High School last Wednesday, the Miners traveled to St. George over the weekend to participate in the annual Little Caesar’s Tournament, where they went 2-2. In Friday’s opener, Park City thumped Sky View, the No. 1-ranked team in 4A, 11-2, then bested Shadow Ridge High School out of Las Vegas, Nev., later in the afternoon, 10-8.
In Saturday’s two-game set, Park City lost to 4A Salem Hills 8-6 in 10 innings before falling to Springville 4-0 in the tournament finale.
Park City head coach Lou Green said he sees his players enjoying their time on the diamond, but says dropping two in a row irked him a bit after such a blistering start.
"I thought it was a productive weekend," he said. "In the two games we lost, we were in both and I thought we had a chance to win another against top-five 4A teams in the state.
"We were happy; we had a lot of good at-bats and a lot of innings on the mound. We’re starting to see some guys come out of their shell and perform the way we expected to."
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Guys like Cole Tan, who has emerged from being one of Green’s many preseason question marks into one of the team’s vital players a third of the way into the season. In Friday’s 10-8 victory over Shadow Ridge, Tan pitched 5 2/3 innings. And while his left arm has helped Park City jump out to a 7-3 record early on, Tan’s bat has spoken even louder.
Green said in 40 at-bats this season, Tan has struck out only twice and leads Park City in every offensive statistical category except extra-base hits.
"He’s done a great job coming in and stepping into a role I wondered if he could take on or not," he said. "Cole’s stepped up to the plate."
Park City is considered one of the biggest surprises in 3A baseball this season after replacing a multitude of departed talent from the 2011 team, and Green said his team’s hot start has been recognized. According to the prep power rankings by The Salt Lake Tribune, the Miners are No. 3 in 3A and deemed "arguably the hottest team in the state."
But, as Green pointed out, the same day those rankings appeared, the Miners dropped two in a row. He continued to say his team has "a long ways to go." He said Park City’s been able to hit significantly better than he expected this early in the season (the team carries a .385 average) and the Miner pitchers have held their own, but errors in the field have crept into each of Park City’s three losses.
"In (each of) those three games we’ve committed four or more errors," he said. "I’ve told the guys since day one, ‘The two things that will beat us are walks and errors.’ With a young, inexperienced team that struggles to hit at times, it makes it too tough to win."
Green said he is glad to see his players recognized for their efforts in the off-season and practice.
"The rankings are great and it’s good for the kids, but it means absolutely nothing to me," he said. "Now it just means we’re going to get everyone’s best pitcher and everyone’s best lineup.
"My main message at practice will be, ‘It’s great to have that No. 3 ranking and it’s a lot to live up to.’ We’re going to be ranked and that’s just something we’re going to have to deal with it. Hopefully our guys take it as a compliment."
Park City is scheduled to host its first home game of the season Friday as the Miners will welcome county cohort North Summit. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Green reiterated that his team deserves the recognition, but said he’ll be within earshot if it ventures anywhere close to complacency.
"I’ve told my guys, ‘Be humble, because this game will take you to your knees every single time you think you’ve figured it out. This is a humbling, humbling game. You thank God every day that you’re able to play this game,’" he said.