Scaglione provides walk-off winner
The ball flew off the end of Jason Scaglione’s bat with just enough life to drop limply and untouched onto the fringe of centerfield grass.
With that fortunate fall, Scaglione, Park City’s miniscule senior third baseman, had just completed an unforgettable 4-3 come-from-behind victory in eight innings in the Miners’ home opener Tuesday afternoon against Union.
"When he stepped up in the box, I said a little prayer for him," said a grinning head coach Lou Green. "I said, ‘Please, there’s nobody better for this to happen to.’"
"He’s probably the best kid on our team," he added. "He works hard."
After juniors Brae Dilley and Mark Trevino drew consecutive two-out walks, Scaglione’s bloop found just enough of the outfield grass to score Dilley, send Green hopping up and down and the modest Scaglione under the bottom of a players’ celebratory pile.
"Right off the bat, I actually thought it was going to be caught, so I was a little upset," Scaglione said. "It fell. I’m just so jubilated if that’s even a word."
The Miners improved to 9-9 on the season, defeating a Union team which Green says is one of the better-hitting teams in 3A and that rolled up 15 runs on Park City in Roosevelt on April 15.
Park City took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Dilley plated on a Union error by the Cougars’ second baseman.
The score remained 2-1 until the top of the 6th inning when a pair of wild pitches by Park City starter Gabe Cohen squeaked by catcher Michael Gallagher, allowing runners to score, giving Union a 3-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the sixth, shortstop Skyler Barkdull doubled to left center to lead off, advanced to third on a ground out and then scored when Dilley hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at 3-3. The score remained locked at the end of the game, sending it into extra innings.
"As a shortstop, you have to be a leader out there," Green said. "We feed off of (Barkdull). Really, he makes us go."
In the bottom of the eighth inning, as Scaglione stood in the box with Dilley and Trevino on base, the first pitch was a low called strike, leaving the Park City fans and dugout barking at the umpire.
The Union pitcher came back and hit the exact same spot, resulting in a 0-2 count with two outs and runners on first and second.
"That third pitch was in the exact same spot," Scaglione said. "I knew he was going to call it a strike again. I had to swing and just put it into play and did the best I could. It felt good."
Centerfielder Robert Cashel, who scored Park City’s first run in the bottom of the first inning, said watching his teammate get mobbed was special.
"He just put the bat on the ball and good things happened," he said. "But he’s the type of kid who works hard and has as good heart. You like kids like that to have that moment."
"That’s something that you never forget," said Green of Scaglione’s walk-off single. "I can remember pitching in my high school state championship game. There’s pitches, there’s outs, there’s at bats that you just never forget. That was one of those."
Park City improved to 6-4 in Region 10 play having won five of its last seven games and with playoffs looming, a memorable afternoon could go a long way for a team getting hot at the right time.
Cohen, a freestyle skier in the winter, was on point in his home-opening start, pitching seven strong innings, allowing three runs and keeping the Cougar offense off balance.
"He’s been kind of a late bloomer for us," Green said of Cohen. "He came in from skiing, and for him to come out and give us that kind of quality outing I didn’t expect him to be that good. I knew he was good and that he was efficient. He’s always in the zone. You know what you’re going to get out of him.
"To come out in a big game, home opener, little bit of a crowd, with the announcers and everything, is big. For him to throw that well says a lot about him. He’s a competitor and he never gets shaken out there."
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