Miners baseball stakes claim on Region 10 title
May 1, 2015
Going into the final three-game series of the regular season against Union, the Park City High School baseball team needed to win two games to clinch the Region 10 title. With a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon at PCHS, the Miners were determined to take care of business at home and not have to go into a road game on Friday with the pressure of a region title hanging over their heads.
The Miners’ determination was evident from the very first inning of game one, when senior Scott Stokes took the mound and struck out the first three Cougars who dared to enter the batter’s box against him.
In the bottom of the first, Chandler Anderson, Ryan Brady, Chandler Barkdull and Stokes — the first four hitters for Park City — came to the plate and picked up singles. They’d also all score in the frame, giving the Miners a 4-0 lead from which they’d never look back in the opening 9-0 victory.
Anderson, a senior, led the way at the plate on Senior Day, recording four hits, including a triple and two doubles, and scoring three runs.
"Holy cow was Chandler Anderson on fire," Park City Coach Lou Green said. "As I’ve said before, we go as he goes. I think he had five extra base hits [in the two games] — three triples and two doubles. That’s ridiculous. I think in the last six games, he has 12 extra base hits. He’s on fire. To say he’s seeing it well would be an understatement."
Stokes finished game one with nine strikeouts, including eight against the first four hitters in Union’s lineup. Green said it’s crucial to set the tone against an opponent’s top hitters.
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"Obviously, with most high-school lineups, they’re stacked on the front side, they’re front-loaded," he said. "If you can attack the 1-2-3-4 hitters, the rest of the way you can throw more balls in the middle. That’s the way our lineup is, too."
Stokes continues to impress in his senior season. Though he wasn’t quite as sharp against the back end of Union’s lineup, Green said Stokes continued to battle through seven innings.
"He started off really, really good," he said. "It really helps when you have a No. 1 who, even when he’s not great, is going to hold the other team down and give you a chance to win. That’s the great thing with Scott — even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he finds a way to win. He’s done that for two years. I couldn’t be more proud of him."
In game two, a 10-1 victory for the Miners, sophomore Ryan Brady took the mound, turning in another gem. After allowing a run in the top of the first, Brady struck out the side in the second and finished the game with a whopping 15 strikeouts.
Green said Park City is lucky to have two outstanding pitchers leading the staff.
"The bottom line is we have two No. 1s," he said. "Scott is a legitimate, bona fide No. 1 and Brady has turned himself into a bona fide No. 1, too. For a sophomore, he’s got big-time stuff. He and Scott pitched 14 innings and had 24 strikeouts. It’s hard to get anything going when you’re striking out that much."
Tuesday marked the last regular-season home games for Stokes, Anderson, Barkdull, Ian Moritz, Max Bernstein, Parker Smith, Maverick Berglund and Hayden Rasmussen. Though Park City clinched two more home games in the playoffs by winning Region 10, Green took time to reflect on what this year’s senior class has meant to the Park City program.
"Our group of seniors has been unbelievable," he said. "People don’t understand the work that goes into our program — there are a lot of challenges to it. These seniors have led us for four years, especially Barkdull and Anderson. They’re four-year starters who have been good players for four years. It was awesome to see their last two regular-season home games turn out the way they did."
Park City (17-4 overall, 9-3 in Region 10) will host games during the first weekend of the 3A playoffs on May 9. In the first game, the Miners will play the No. 4 seed from the southern region, which Green anticipates to be Snow Canyon.
"I like our pitching matchups, but I know they can swing the bat, so we’re going to have to score some runs," he said. "We’ll have to play our best game. If we play our best game, I think we’ll win. If we don’t, it’s going to be a long day."
Stokes, who is happy to get a chance to pitch at PCHS again, said the Miners have won all three tournaments they’ve played in this season — two preseason tourneys and the Region 10 schedule — and have no plans to start losing tournaments now.
"We made it a goal in the preseason to win every championship we play in," he said. "So far, we’ve done that. I knew it wasn’t guaranteed that I’d ever get to play here again, so that’s great."
Now, he added, the pressure is on the Miners to not only win against the No. 4 seed from the south, but to also take care of business in the second game Saturday, which will be against either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed from Region 11 or Region 12.
"It’s very important," he said. "If you lose one game that first weekend, you have to win six games to win state. I think you only need to win three after that if you sweep the first weekend."
Green is confident in the way the Miners are playing now, though, and is looking forward to May 9.
"It seems like we’re hitting on all cylinders when it matters most," he said. "That’s what I’m hoping, anyway. It’s going to be a lot of fun playing here in front of our home fans. It’ll be the seniors’ last time playing here, so hopefully we’ll be able to pack this place out again. It was fun playing in front of so many people."
"We just need to prepare like we’ve been doing for region," Stokes added. "If we get on the mound and throw it and hit it like we’ve been doing, we’ll be fine."
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