Miners walk it off in extra-inning win over Tooele
Park City completes comeback after falling behind 3-0
April 14, 2017
In the sixth inning of Thursday's mid-afternoon contest with Tooele, Park City High School senior Sam Starley recorded a single. After he connected with the ball on his swing, the outfielder held his hamstring, as he gingerly ran out of the box and rounded first base.
It was clear the tendon was bothering the senior, so Head Coach Dave Feasler went out to check on Starley. After determining he was in too much pain to run the bases, Feasler opted to bring in pinch runner Evan Pointer.
"I had to take him out," Feasler said.
But Starley's stay on the bench wouldn't last long. His number was called again in the eighth inning after neither team could come out on top in regulation. The teams were tied 4-4.
Coming off of the bench with the bases loaded, the senior came through in a clutch pinch-hit situation by driving the ball deep to center. It remained in play, however, and the Tooele centerfielder caught the ball.
But the ball was deep enough for Max Mobley, who was on third base, to tag up and reach home safely, allowing the Miners to squeak by the Buffaloes 5-4 at Park City High School.
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"It speaks to the kid," Feasler said. "We asked him, 'Hey, can you swing the bat and not run? All we need is a sac fly.' The kid competes and grinded through injury."
Starley finished the day with two hits, while Josh Lansky led the way for the Miners with three.
As big as Starley's hit was, Feasler cited the plays made before the walk-off sacrifice fly, which included big bunts by Ryan Brady and Ben Agnew — with two strikes, nonetheless — to advance runners into scoring position, as the real reason why Park City walked away victorious.
"It really came down to execution," Feasler said.
The Miners received six and one-third innings on the mound from Sam Strader, who started the game slow. After giving up three runs in the first three frames — allowing Tooele to build an early 3-0 advantage — Strader settled down by not allowing a run the rest of the way. He racked up six strikeouts in the process and, in the end, ate up valuable innings on the mound for Park City.
"He wasn't sharp early, but I feel like he kind of got into the middle innings and was on cruise control once he hit about 30 to 40 pitches," Feasler said.
Wyatt Hudgens relieved Strader in the seventh inning and shut down any chance the Buffaloes had at winning the game by recording five strikeouts in just one and two-third innings pitched.
With the narrow win, Park City avoids dropping a game to a team that hasn't won a region contest all season. Currently, the Miners are joined by Stansbury at the top of the Region 10 standings at 5-1, so a loss to the cellar-dweller of the region could have derailed the momentum gained thus far.
Though the Miners are aware of the Stansbury Stallions and their future date with them on April 27 at Park City High School, a day that is certainly circled on both teams' calendars, Feasler wants to remind his players that every region game is important.
"It's a huge win," Feasler said. "It was a good baseball game. [Tooele] played hard and every region game is important. … I think this team plays one pitch at a time, one game at a time. There's no game that's bigger than any other game. Obviously, looking back on it, [Wednesday's win was] a big win and we're in a great place in the middle of region play."
Park City's next contest will be at home when it hosts Union on Tuesday, April 18. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.