PCHS baseball buries Buffaloes in home win
When Ryan Brady takes the mound for the Park City High School baseball team, fans need to show up on time or they might miss the game.
Despite the first pitch coming closer to 3:45 p.m. than the originally scheduled 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the Miners had wrapped up their 6-0 win over Tooele before the clock struck 5.
Though Brady allowed two hits, Park City’s defense didn’t allow a runner to reach second base, turning two double plays in support of their sharp pitcher. Brady took care of the rest, inducing weak contact and striking out 10 Buffalo batters.
Park City Coach Eric Morgan said Brady is almost automatic at this point when it comes to making near-perfect starts.
"You know he’s going to be in the [strike] zone," Morgan said. "With his fastball and his stuff, if he throws strikes, he’s going to do a good job for us. He’s hard to beat."
Add strong defense to the mix and there’s not much pressure on the Park City offense to score more than a couple of runs to ensure victory.
"[Tooele] only put a handful of balls in play and we made every single play," Morgan said. "That’s a great recipe for a win."
The Buffaloes only managed two weak hits — a bloop single down the right-field line and another over the shortstop’s head. Morgan said those fluke hits that find their way to an open patch of grass are just part of the game, but if Brady combines a strong start with a little luck, a no-hitter could be in the works.
"If he’s in the zone and throws his fastball on both sides of the plate and gets his curveball over, I think so," Morgan said. "That’d be awesome. You saw today that [Tooele’s hits] were two blooped jam shots."
Offensively, Jake Slusher broke the game open for the Miners in the third inning. After JC Pollard and Sam Strader each reached base on errors by the Tooele defense, Slusher smacked a two-run triple to the outfield wall. Josh Lansky then drove Slusher home to give the Miners a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Brady singled and Drew Castellanos reached on an error before Pollard drove both of them home with a single to make it 5-0 Park City. The Miners extended their lead to 6-0 in the fifth inning when Brady singled to drive Slusher home.
Morgan said the Park City offense has been getting better as the season has gone along.
"We’re improving every single game," he said. "It seems like we’re hitting the ball harder each day."
But, he added, he’d like to see the Miners score more often in the first two innings of games to take some pressure off the pitchers.
"We still are taking about one time through the order to make the adjustment," he said. "We’ve been seeing a lot of pitchers that are slow and away. We’ve got to sit back and think middle-away and figure that out from the first inning."
Park City (6-8 overall, 3-2 in Region 10) has two games against Union next week. Morgan said the Miners have a chance to put themselves in contention for a region title if they perform well in Roosevelt on Tuesday and at home on Friday.
"We’re right in there," he said. "But we’ve really got to focus against Union and put ourselves in a good position."
The key to the Union games will be to score early.
"It gives the pitcher a lot more confidence," Morgan said. "He can go in there and have a little pressure off him and can throw strikes. If you have a lead, it’s a lot more comfortable."
Friday’s game against Union at PCHS is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m.
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Two Park City singles players advance to the semifinals of the 5A state tennis playoffs; North Summit and South Summit girls soccer to begin state playoffs next week.