Baseball playoffs affected by weather
May 8, 2015
One thing is certain for this weekend — baseball will be played.
The list of uncertain things is much longer, though. With unpredictable mountain weather threatening snow on Saturday in Park City after a week of rainy conditions, playing the day’s scheduled games at PCHS will likely be impossible.
Possible back-up sites include Salt Lake Community College, Cottonwood Heights High School and Juan Diego High School in the Salt Lake Valley, but even those sites have the chance of being unplayable by Saturday.
Another option is to move the games to the St. George area, where temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-70s this weekend and snow shouldn’t be a factor.
As Park City Coach Lou Green and Activities Director Jamie Sheetz scrambled to find not just a Plan B, but also Plans C-Z, on Thursday afternoon, Green said he was trying to keep the stressful situation from affecting his players.
"They don’t have any idea what’s going on," he said. "They don’t know that we’re thinking about moving it. As far as they know, we’re playing here on Saturday and, if not, we’re going to the valley somewhere. They have no idea about the St. George thing.
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"They’ve got one job and that’s to prepare to play against Snow Canyon in Game 1. We’ll take it one inning at a time. The good news is, no matter where we go, the mound will be 60-feet-6-inches away from home plate and the bases will be 90 feet apart."
The biggest factor in moving the games is the loss of home-field advantage for Park City, who earned the No. 1 seed in Region 10 and the right to host the first-round games.
"Obviously, it kind of flips things on its head depending on where we’ve got to go," Green said. "If we end up somewhere in Salt Lake, we should still get most of our home crowd. That would limit the Region 9 [Snow Canyon’s] home crowd. If we’ve got to go south — which is a possibility — that definitely plays into Snow Canyon’s hands. They’d come in as a No. 4 seed and basically get a home game.
"That would take one element out of our game, but it’s still seven innings, 21 outs each."
The other 3A playoff first-round sites, including the Region 11 host and the Region 12 host, are also looking into moving south due to weather, Green said. But, he added, being from Park City, where snow is always a possibility, the Miners have no problem playing on the road.
"We’ve gone to Pine View and beaten them on their home field two of the last three years," he said. "It’s a challenge, but we’ll get after it. They’re mentally tough kids and we’re road warriors — we play on the road all year long. We know what it feels like to go into somebody else’s stadium. No matter what the case is, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be just fine."
No matter where the games are played, the Miners will have a tough task escaping the first weekend unscathed.
"We know who they are," Green said of Snow Canyon. "They’ve got an 80 mph lefty on the mound who’s supposed to be pretty good and they’re supposed to be one of the best hitting teams, 1-9, in the state. But, if we make pitches, we make pitches — good pitching beats good hitting any day. We’ve got to pitch well and play good defense. I think if it’s our ‘A’ game vs. their ‘A’ game, we win. We just have to make sure we bring our ‘A’ game."
The Miners will turn to senior Scott Stokes and sophomore Ryan Brady to lead the way on the mound.
"It’ll most likely be Stokes and then Brady in relief, if needed," Green said. "Getting the first win is the big one, so we’ll come out with everything we’ve got. Hopefully Scott gets us through seven — he’s our bona fide No. 1 with the lowest ERA and best record for two years, so he’s definitely getting the ball. If not, it’s good to have a guy like Brady you can bring in out of the bullpen."
In the second game on Saturday, there will still be plenty of challenges. The Miners will either run into the defending 3A state champion in Grantsville or a Carbon team that has a history of big wins in the state tournament.
"I know Grantsville is obviously the defending state champion, but I think they graduated seven seniors, so they’re on the mend," Green said. "They’ve definitely played better as the year has gone on, though. They lost some games early, but they’ve been better as the year’s gone on.
"Every single year, if you look back through the standings, Carbon always beats a higher seed somewhere in the playoffs. It’s like they always sneak up and get somebody. You can’t sleep on them — they always have good, hard, scrappy teams."
The 3A state tournament is a double-elimination bracket, so only the team that loses both its games will be eliminated after Saturday. Two teams will enter next weekend in the one-loss bracket and the team that wins both games will enter in the winner’s bracket.
For the latest information about Saturday’s schedule, follow @ParkRecSports and @ParkCityMiners on Twitter.
3A first-round playoff games
Game 1 — No. 2 Carbon vs. No. 3 Grantsville
Game 2 — No. 1 Park City vs. No. 4 Snow Canyon
Game 3 — Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 4 — Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2