PCHS baseball: Park City dismantles East on the road
SALT LAKE CITY — The baseball spun sky-high off the bat of an East High player in the top of the fourth inning. Drifting left past the foul line along the third-base line, Park City’s Tim Leary backpedaled.
After wrestling with the awkward flight of the ball, Leary went for it. The Miners’ third basemen, not knowing where he’d end up, leapt into the air, his back suddenly contorted by the fence he hit, as his mitt swallowed the out.
At that point, Park City led 4A East 17-4 and was well on its way to an impressive 5-1 start to the 2012 season.
Miner head coach Lou Green chuckled afterward when asked about the play made by a player he deemed one of many question marks heading into this year.
"He’s 100 percent at 100 miles per hour," said Park City’s second-year head coach. "You talk about good motor guys; (Leary) has a great motor."
As evidenced by the 18-4 road victory over the Leopards Wednesday afternoon, the story of the game wasn’t just Leary. The Miners abused the opposition at the plate, racking up six doubles as hit after hit rang loudly off of Park City’s bats.
Senior first baseman Brae Dilley said the team’s mantra of pitching and playing sound defense helped secure the win as the Miners allowed just one more run after giving up three in the bottom of the first. But the team captain said he was elated to see an offensive outburst against a worthy opponent.
"It’s been a while since Park City has started off like this," he said. "We just know we have to play within ourselves."
The Miners did exactly that as they opened up with a four-run first inning, followed by a five-run second. Park City’s ability at the plate was compounded by a rough outing by the East defense. The Leopards had a multitude of errors and the Miners continued to put pressure on by putting the ball in play.
"Baseball is a game of runs," Green said. "It’s contagious; errors are contagious as you can see with them, hits are contagious as you can see with us and strikes are contagious — We got on a good run from the start."
In the top of the third inning, Dilley drew a walk as the leadoff batter before fellow senior Conner Lagnese, who was able to enjoy a rare day off from the mound, laced an RBI double into right-center field, upping Park City’s lead to 10-3. Nate Stanley and Cole Tan followed with back-to-back singles before sophomore TJ Mayo punched an RBI single to right field.
Three consecutive errors helped the Miners increase their lead to 16-3.
"We’re playing well, we’re hitting it a lot better than I thought we would, but we’ve got a long ways to go," Green said.
Park City’s hot start, as Green noted, has been thanks to the emergence of Leary, Tan, and Mayo along with freshmen Chandler Barkdull and Chandler Anderson.
Dilley said without the newbies contributing regularly in the lineup and in the field, Park City would be nowhere close to 5-1.
"They’ve been huge for us," he said. "It’s all going really well."
Next up for the Miners is another trip down south to the annual Little Caesar’s Classic tournament in St. George. Green said this weekend is crucial for Park City as it will give his team a true test to see whether the 5-1 start is an aberration or a sign of things to come.
"They’re young, they’re teenagers, and I realize their tendency sometimes is to let up. But I’m just a guy who never lets up," he said. "They know that and they’re stuck with me."
In Wednesday’s win at East, Leary ended the rout finishing off a ground out to third base for the final out of the game.
"On the back of our T-shirts, it says ‘Hard Work,’" he said. "That’s what we want to do every day because we want to win every game. To come down here and get this win, it’s what we expected and it’s what we got.
"But the next day, we’re out to get the next one. We’ve already forgotten about this."
The Christian Center of Park City had a makeover last year, and its boutique felt it was time for one, too.