Park City baseball off to 4-1 start after St. George trip
Miners bounce back from opening loss to win 4 in a row
Park City’s opening day against Orem on Wednesday didn’t go to plan, to put it gently.
The Miners failed to record a hit against the Tigers, and a 6-0 deficit after the first inning turned into a 12-2 loss in six innings.
But Park City bounced back by reeling off four straight wins in its tournament in St. George over the next three days against Desert Hills, Wasatch, Juan Diego Catholic and Hunter to start the season 4-1. The Miners are slated to play Stansbury on Tuesday.
“Obviously, the results on the field on Wednesday night is not what you want on opening day, but just the ability to move on and play some more good teams competitively the rest of the weekend – I don’t think we’ve ever gone 4-0 in that Desert Hills tournament,” Park City coach David Feasler said. “I think it’s just good for the kids moving on from Game 1, recognizing that we saw really good arms and a really good team in Orem in Game 1, kind of take that as a positive into the rest of the weekend, for sure.”
Park City’s offense played a significant role in its four-game winning streak over the weekend. After Orem pitched a no-hitter against the Miners, Park City scored at least nine runs in every game the rest of the week, including 16 in its victory over Hunter to end the weekend.
“We drew a lot of walks, we competed at the plate, we walked 28 times, got some big bunts down at times,” Feasler said. “Scoring nine runs, it gives us a chance to win every ballgame.”
Sophomore Justin Michaelis led the way for the Miners at the dish, recording seven hits, 12 RBIs, four doubles and a home run.
“Justin is a special talent, and people in the state are starting to realize that,” Feasler said. “The difference between Justin this year and last year is now he’s kind of becoming a leader. It’s cool to see. I think a lot of our team this season, even as a sophomore, they look up to Justin. Obviously, the talent speaks for itself. It’s a really good start.”
Park City’s 9-2 win over Desert Hills on Thursday came a day after the Orem loss. Of the games that the Miners played last week, Feasler felt like the Desert Hills game was their cleanest. The Miners strung together seven hits and 11 walks to keep the offense clicking, and sophomore Colton Schmidt and junior Sebastian Ritter combined for 10 strikeouts and no earned runs on the mound.
“(Ritter) got us through three, then Colton pitched the rest of the game,” Feasler said. “They didn’t do much with him. He did a good job changing speeds, kept guys off the bases and, yeah, that’s probably our cleanest one. We played good defense there and again scored nine, so the start from Sebastian gives us a chance to win the game.”
The Miners also scored some bragging rights with a 9-7 win over Wasatch in a Wasatch Back matchup on Friday. Park City scored nine runs in the first three innings, and that was enough to hang on for the win. Ethan Rude pitched 3.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to hold off the Wasps.
“Ethan Rude came out of the bullpen and did a really good job, he was three-plus (innings) scoreless,” Feasler said. “It’s fun to beat Wasatch, they have a really good team. That’s kind of all we really care about is playing good, competitive ballgames early in the year.”
Park City capped off its trip to St. George with wins over Juan Diego Catholic (9-4) and Hunter (16-4) on Saturday. While the early success shows signs of promise for the Miners, there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“All five games, nerves come into play getting back on the field, first time seeing a field since the fall,” Feasler said. “We’ve got to clean up some strikeouts, got to walk less guys on the mound because we’ve walked 30 guys and we’ve got to clean up some defensive things. But I think those all happen as we go deeper into the season. I mean, first five games, small sample size, great to get four wins. At the same time, we’ve got to get a little better and keep working at it.”
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