PCHS baseball outlasts Stallions in pitchers’ duel
Through five innings of play on Monday afternoon, the Park City High School baseball team’s offense hadn’t done much. Only one runner had made it as far as third base before getting stranded.
Fortunately, the Stansbury Stallions’ offense wasn’t faring any better against PCHS pitcher Ryan Brady. Only two players reached first base in the first five innings, neither of whom advanced to second.
The Miners were doing one thing right while struggling offensively, though. Even while not amassing hits, Park City was forcing the Stallions’ pitcher to work hard and throw a lot of pitches.
Eventually, that paid off. In the sixth inning, the Stallions brought in a new pitcher and the Miners pounced. Sam Starley walked to start the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He then reached third on an error by the Stansbury third baseman.
That brought Josh Lansky to the plate. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Lansky laid down a picture-perfect bunt up the first-base line. Starley broke from third and crossed the plate well ahead of the throw from the first baseman.
That proved to be all the run support Brady needed. In the top of the seventh inning, he struck out all three Stansbury batters unfortunate enough to face him, sealing the Miners’ victory.
Park City Coach Eric Morgan said the Miners were able to manufacture a run in the sixth inning by doing what they’ve worked on all season.
"We got guys on base," he said. "I preach all the time that we need to execute our bunts and get them down and that’s what happened. It was great execution by Lansky — you couldn’t ask for a better bunt. Starley did a great job reading it, too."
Lansky said he was prepared for the bunt sign and that’s exactly what he got.
"[Morgan] gave me a safety squeeze sign," he said. "If it was a slow pitch, I was going to take it — fast pitch, you push it up the first-base line. I got it down, we scored the run and I got on base — what else could you ask for?"
With Brady pitching, Lansky knew the 1-0 lead would hold up in the top of the seventh inning.
"With him on the mound, you know the way the game is going to go — fast-paced, in the zone, constantly getting outs," he said. "As an offense, we just need to get up early so we can cruise control the rest of the way and not wait until the sixth inning to score runs."
Though the Park City offense struggled before the sixth inning, Morgan said there were several strong at-bats that forced the Stansbury pitcher to build his pitch count.
"That’s big when you face a good pitcher," he said. "You have to see a lot of pitches, battle, foul them off, get runners on and put pressure on him. We saw what happened when we got to the bullpen."
With a no-hitter and several shutouts on his resume this season, there’s not much else to say about Brady’s pitching efforts, Morgan said.
"That was a typical outing — using both sides of the plate, throwing his curveball and mixing it up," he said. "That’s just fun to watch. You’re a lot more relaxed with him on the mound. You’re going to get a competitor who throws strikes and loves to have the ball."
Monday’s victory improved Park City’s overall record to 10-9 and 7-3 in Region 10 play. Stansbury leads the region with a 7-2 record (both losses coming to Park City). The Miners have two remaining region games this week — Tuesday vs. Tooele, after this issue went to press, and Thursday at Union. If Park City wins both of its games and Stansbury trips up in one if its three remaining region contests, the Miners could enter the playoffs with the No. 1 seed.
"We took care of this game, but we’ve got two more," Morgan said. "Hopefully the rest of the region can help us out."
Lansky said the biggest key for the Miners is to take care of their own business and not worry about the Stallions.
"We have two more wins to get," he said. "Hopefully something will happen [with Stansbury]. We need to put [Monday’s win] past us, though — anything can happen."
Park City’s final regular-season home game is scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, against Payson. The non-region contest will start at 3:30 p.m. at PCHS.
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