Park City Miners baseball confident in making run to postseason |

Park City Miners baseball confident in making run to postseason

Park City High School senior team captain Payton Gross (3) throws the ball back to the pitching mound after another Grantsville player was struck out at the beginning of the game Tuesday afternoon, April 4, 2017. The Miners swept the Cowboys 4-0. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

It's been a long winter for the Park City High School baseball team. Starting in October after finishing the team's best season in history last spring — a third-place finish at Class 3A state championships — the team has been practicing indoors, but the wait is nearly over. Next weekend the Miners will open the season with games in St. George, and according to senior all-state pitcher Sam Strader, it could be the start of a special season.

"Our pitching and defense is super strong, and we'll hit really well this season, too," he said. "We'll be strong all the way around."

On defense, the Miners will bring back some of last year's talent with senior Colton Thompson at first, Strader playing shortstop, senior Wyatt Hudgens at second, junior Ben Agnew at third, and all-state senior catcher Clayton Gross behind home plate.

"We're rallying around defense and base running; that's how we're going to win a lot of games," coach David Feasler said. "I think we're going to hit, but defense is going to be strong. We have three returning starters on the infield, one in the outfield. That's what we've been doing for five months, is working on our defense."

The outfield is the only element that Feasler is unsure of.

"Just because we haven't been able to take fly balls or anything, and we don't know what that's going to look like," he said. "When we get outside, the outfield defense is always kind of the questionable piece, but I think with (junior) Max Mobley leading the charge out there, it will be fine."

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Stader said Agnew, Gross and Mobley are some of the Miners' best hitters this season, adding that the lineup will be "solid throughout."

Last year's team had just a handful of seniors — which hasn't changed much, as there are six this year — one of them being Ryan Brady, who went on to sign with Brigham Young University.

Strader will step into Brady's role on the mound, and Hutchins, Gabe Lundbeck and Agnew will also contribute, which Gross said could mean a step up in pitching despite Brady's absence.

"We have a lot more arms that are developed," he said. "Last year we were relying on two or three guys mainly to get us through the season, and this year we have a lot more, so it will definitely help us out later on in the season when we have to play more games in a row."

The Miners hope the team's strength transfers into a strong playoff run, even as they move up to play larger teams in Class 4A.

"Once we get into the state tournament, with the classification shakeup, we're excited to play the teams from down south — the Dixies and the Snow Canyons, the Spanish Forks," Feasler said. "We have some bigger schools and some steep competition once we get to the state tournament, but I think it will be great for our guys to play some good teams."

Feasler said the team is also looking forward to playing Region 11 rivals in Juan Diego and Stansbury, just as soon as the snow melts.