Miners baseball earn wins, but still seeks consistency before playoffs
After winning its series during the week against Bonneville two games to one, the Park City High School baseball team is all but assured a place in the state playoffs. But coach Dave Feasler and his team don’t think they’ve hit their stride yet. They are still searching for consistency as they head into their final stretch of the season.
The Miners, No. 2 in Region 11 behind Juan Diego, started their series against No. 5 Bonneville with a 5-2 win at home. The runs came trickling in for the Miners, starting with two in the third, then one apiece in the fourth, fifth and sixth, while Bonneville didn’t touch home plate until the fifth, when it scored two runs.
The Miners won the second game, played at Bonneville, 12-4. The Lakers took a four-run lead in the first, then the Miners answered with five of their own in the second. Neither team scored again for three innings until the Miners put one run on the board, then six more in the top of the seventh.
Game three went similarly for the Miners, putting up their best effort toward the end of the game, notching four runs in the sixth inning to try and close a five-run gap, though it wasn’t enough for the win.
PCHS senior Max Mobley said the team is playing well, but there are just a few elements it needs to tie together before heading into the postseason.
In the first game of the series, for instance, the team kept a tight lid on the Lakers for most the game, including two double plays, but it struggled to score runs of its own.
“There were a few things that were sloppy,” Mobley said. “We had some at-bats that could have been a lot better.”
The Miners loaded the bases in the third inning, only to allow the Lakers to escape unscathed with a double play, for example. On defense, two players also collided going for a ball between second and third base in the fourth inning. In the fifth, the Miners struck out to end the inning with a runner on third.
“That’s just a little bit of confusion,” Mobley said of the collision. “That’s a good example of the little things we have to clean up. But we’re going to fix that and won’t be making those mistakes in the future.”
On the flip side, Mobley regarded junior Ryan Jeffrey’s double in the bottom of the sixth inning to bring junior Zack Blaszak home and answer Bonneville’s two runs earlier that inning as sign of what the team can do when the bats are hot.
“We had some guys come up in some big spots, some big two-out hits,” Mobley said. “That’s a big hit.”
Jeffrey pitched through most of the game, and was relieved by sophomore Nick Stokes in the top of the sixth.
On Friday morning, Feasler said he takes responsibility for some of the inconsistency.
“I’ll own that,” he said.
He said the weather has been another hurdle.
His team, like many others around Utah, has seen a hit-or-miss season in terms of scheduling, and hadn’t had an outdoor practice until the day before the Bonneville series started.
The Miners go into next week, the last full week of the regular season, with six games in eight days, many of which were moved from earlier this season due to snow or rain.
Feasler said the team is fired up for the slugfest, and the stretch might be what the Miners need to fine-tune their game before the stakes get higher.
They start their run with a game against No. 3 Tooele on Monday at home at 3:30 p.m., then play a three-game series against No. 6 Ogden on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday before facing No. 4 Stansbury on May 6 and Tooele again on May 7.
“Obviously, the vision is to win out those last games,” Feasler said. “But I also think it’s about getting ready for the playoffs and making sure we’re ready to go for that May 11 playoff.”
Somewhere in there, they hope it will all come together.
An earlier version of this story misidentified three players in photo captions. Toby Burke is pictured scoring, not Cole Ward. Sam Levine is pictured covering Corner Canyon’s Mitchell Houmand, not Nicholas Kraus. Brady Baumann is pictured catching the ball, not Connor Monson.
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