PCHS baseball splits with Grantsville
Park City baseball fans know how difficult it is to play home games in March. Too often, the field is covered in snow and unusable for the team.
That was the case again last week, when the Miners were scheduled to host their home opener against Region 10 opponent Grantsville on Friday afternoon. After playing at Grantsville on Tuesday, the Miners again boarded the bus for a road game against them on Friday, with a home make-up game scheduled for later this season.
On Tuesday, Park City struggled offensively, losing 1-0 despite the best efforts of junior pitcher Ryan Brady. Park City Coach Eric Morgan said the Miners’ situational hitting cost them the game.
"Ryan threw great and the defense was solid," he said. "Of course, our bats haven’t caught up to our pitching and defense. We didn’t execute a few bunts and that was the difference in the game."
Morgan added that fundamentals at the plate are crucial for a team that lost a lot of its offensive power to graduation.
"Tuesday, we had a few runners on, but we didn’t do the little things right to score some runs," he said.
Friday, however, was a different story. Before senior Jake Slusher even took the mound, the Miners had a 3-0 lead, thanks to some timely hits and defensive miscues by the Cowboys.
"Friday, we executed some bunts and put some pressure on the defense and we saw what happened," Morgan said. "We haven’t been scoring runs, so that was a confidence booster. We got some bunts down, put pressure on them and we got a few timely hits. They threw the ball around a little bit and we took advantage."
Zack Luna led the first inning off with a single. Sam Starley followed with a bunt that turned into a Grantsville error. After a walk to Brady, Slusher reached on the Cowboys’ second error of the inning. Then Josh Lansky came to the plate and cleared the bases on a bunt that Grantsville threw into right field.
When Slusher took the mound, he did enough to keep the Cowboys’ bats at bay.
"What’s great about Jake is that he just competes," Morgan said. "He wants the ball and he wants to win. I love his mindset out there. He doesn’t throw the hardest, but he just goes out there and competes. He did well enough to hold them to two runs and we had great defense behind him. He had a lot of runners on and just found ways to get out of it."
Sophomore Wyatt Hudgens came in to relieve Slusher and preserve the win for Park City.
"Wyatt came in and I think nerves got to him a bit and he walked the first guy," Morgan said. "But then I had no doubt he was going to close that game. He throws his fastball and curveball for strikes and keeps the hitters off balance."
Though Morgan would have liked to see some offense on Tuesday, he said going 1-1 against Grantsville is a promising sign for the Region 10 season.
"From early on, I’ve thought Grantsville was the team to beat," he said. "Knowing how we can play, that gives us a lot of confidence that, moving forward, we can really do well in this region."
Park City (3-6 overall, 1-1 in Region 10) will try to play two games against Stansbury this week if weather allows. Tuesday’s game (scheduled for after this issue went to press) was in danger of being canceled and Friday’s game is also considered to be in jeopardy.
If the Miners are able to play at all this week, Morgan said the bats will need to carry their share of the load.
"We’ve got to hit the ball," he said. "[Stansbury has] a good lefty that is one of the best pitchers [in the region]. If we can find a way to put a few runs on the board, our pitchers and defense will hold them."
Park City’s next home game is scheduled for Wednesday, April 6, against Logan at 3:30 p.m. at Park City High School.
Steele DeWald has his life in Park City down to a routine. After some strange encounters in his 20s, he’s OK with the mundane.