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Southern Utah News Front Page: October 19, 2017

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Valley boys 1A State Baseball Champions

The Valley Buffaloes - 1A State Champions, back row (l-r): Coach Lyle Goulding, Coach Marvin Hoyt, Manager Dustin Cox, Bret Goulding, Ricky Bullock, Orrin Wood, Cameron Franklin, Logan Dean, Jack French, Gavin Hoyt, Carter Kenner, Ruger Reeve, Coach Joseph Sorensen, Coach Lance Peterson, Coach Jim Hoyt. Front row: Conner Chamberlain, Cooper Esplin, Casey Reck, Braxton Heaton, Danny Goulding, Garrett Spencer, McClain Roundy, Clay Cox, Spencer Cox, Luke Hepworth and Manager Marshall Goulding.

By Lance Peterson

The Valley Buffalo baseball team came home with the 1A State Baseball Championship after defeating the Panguitch Bobcats 7-5. It was a great ending to an incredible run through the playoffs for the third seeded Buffaloes.

The road to the championship began with Valley facing the Manila Mustangs in the first round of the tournament. The game was never in doubt as the Buffaloes built an early lead and never let up. Orrin Wood pitched a complete game shutout, as Valley cruised to a lopsided 12-0 victory. Ten different players got base hits in the game.

The quarterfinal game was played on Tuesday, October 3, at Dixie Flyer Field in St. George. The Tabiona Tigers were the number two seed from the northern region and looked pretty tough for the first couple of innings against the Buffaloes. In the third inning, however, that all changed as the Valley bats came alive and they were able to put up five big runs. Orrin Wood, Danny Goulding and Gavin Hoyt all had RBIs in the inning. Valley tacked on one more run an inning later as Bret Goulding doubled to right field to finish with a score of 6-0. The six runs were more than enough for Valley’s pitchers as Garrett Spencer hurled five scoreless innings, with eight strikeouts, and was then relieved by Wood, who completed the shutout.

The win set up a semi-final showdown between the Buffaloes and the number one seed Piute Thunderbirds. The teams previously met three times during the season, with the T-birds coming out victorious each time with scores of 2-0, 4-3 in nine innings, and 4-0. Piute was undefeated, and going back to last season, had a winning streak of over 30 games. The Buffaloes were prepared, however, and had been looking forward to a chance to knock off the defending champs and get revenge for last year’s loss in the championship game.

It was clear from the top of the first inning that the Buffaloes were not intimidated by the undefeated Thunderbirds. They put up one run in the first inning and never looked back. Throughout the day, the Buffalo hitters racked up 14 hits and managed to score a run in five different innings. With McClain Roundy pitching on the mound, five runs would prove to be more than enough as he pitched a masterful 6 2/3 innings, surrendering only two runs on five hits. Orrin Wood came on in relief to record the final out.

Valley’s defense was tough all day. Especially impressive was a play by catcher Clay Cox and Roundy. Cox chased down a wild pitch and threw to Roundy who was covering home and was able to tag the sliding runner out. The run would have put Piute within one run. Garrett Spencer, Cameron Franklin, Gavin Hoyt, Danny Goulding and Braxton Heaton all had multiple hits in the game, leading the Buffaloes to the 5-2 victory and spoiling Piute’s perfect season.

The Panguitch Bobcats, who were the number two seed from the southern region, were the last team standing in the way of the Buffaloes on their run to the title.

The Buffaloes were not about to be denied. The hot bats continued where they left off, as Valley built a 7-0 lead after four innings. However, Panguitch battled back and kept things interesting until the very end. They cut the lead to 7-5 and had the bases loaded, but Valley was able to hang on and secure the championship, thanks to great defense and team play.

Garrett Spencer led the way on the mound for the Buffaloes and pitched 6-1/3 innings. He was relieved by Orrin Wood, who got the save. Wood, along with Spencer, Casey Reck and McClain Roundy, each collected multiple hits in the game.

Overall, it was an entire team effort that led the Buffaloes to the title.

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