Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for May 13, 2009
Cowboys win 2A state baseball title
Famous baseball player and coach Yogi Berra once said, "It''s not over, till it''s over." Boy was that ever true last Saturday at the 2-A state baseball championship. Kanab reached the final by beating Juab 5-3 on Thursday and Richfield 8-6 on Friday.
Three outs away from getting beat by 10 runs to San Juan in the championship, the Kanab Cowboys had the comeback of all comebacks. In the bottom of the fifth, they exploded for 10 runs to tie the game at 12-12.
Justin Orton led off the big inning with a double. Taylor Guernsey followed that with another double, scoring Orton. Craig Brinkerhoff made it three doubles in a row, scoring Guernsey. After Dason Ott reached base on an error by the pitcher, Bryce Hafen drilled his second homer of the game, a three-run shot, and Kanab cut the deficit to 12-7. Following an infield out, Dustin Reidhead reached base on an error by the first baseman. Kolton Perkins tripled down the left field line for another run. The ninth batter of the inning was called out on strikes for out number two. Orton came up to bat for the second time in the inning and hit a shot 400 feet over the centerfield fence and it was now 12-10. After Guernsey smacked a triple, Brinkerhoff cranked one deep over the left field fence for another two-run homer and the game was tied 12-12.
San Juan went down one-two-three in the top of the sixth. Leading off the inning for Kanab, Hafen drove an outside pitch to the gap in right-center for a double. Brendan Judd beat out a dribbler to third and the Cowboys had runners on the corners. Kanab took the lead for the first time in the game when Dustin Reidhead hit a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield.
After pitching seven innings in the victory over Richfield on Friday, ace Justin Orton was called on to get the final three outs. Orton walked the first two batters he faced, before getting a flyout to center. He walked another batter and the bases were loaded. Shortstop Taylor Guernsey made a diving stop of a ball hit in the hole and threw the runner at third out. Unfortunately a runner scored to tie the game at 13-13. Orton ended the San Juan threat, getting the final out on a wicked curve for a called strike three against Bronco cleanup hitter Dakota Hatch.
In the bottom of the seventh, after an infield popout, Brinkerhoff drilled a line drive to left for a single. Ott was hit by a pitch and Kanab had two runners on with one out. San Juan didn''t want to get beat by Hafen, he already had two homers and a double, so they intentionally walked him to load the bases. Judd hit a dribbler down the third base line and the throw to home plate was too high, as Brinkerhoff slid in safely with the winning run.
Head coach Mason Fox told his players after the game, "You guys made history. That has to be the biggest comeback ever in a championship game. You guys never gave up. You just kept battling. I''m proud of every one of you!" He added kiddingly, "You know, when we were down 12-2, we had them right where we wanted them."
Dustin Reidhead started on the mound for Kanab after Brinkerhoff and Orton picked up wins in the Cowboys first two games over Juab and Richfield. The Cowboys were fortunate to be only down by a run, 3-2, after three innings. San Juan left the bases loaded twice. But the hard hitting Broncos broke the game open in the top of the fourth, scoring eight runs to lead 11-2. They added another run in the fifth to make it 12-2.
The Cowboys first game on Thursday against Juab was also a nail-biter. Craig Brinkerhoff was on the mound for Kanab. He struggled with his control in the first inning, walking the bases loaded, while striking out one. An unassisted double play by Orton ended the inning with o damage.
Leadoff Orton gave the Cowboys a 1-0 lead after walking and stealing second. He advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a grounder to second. Brinkerhoff struck out the side in the second frame. In the bottom of the third Juab tied the game at 1-1 when Justin Park led off with a triple. After Brinkerhoff struck out one batter, he hit another to put runners on the corners. A line drive to second recorded the second out, but the throw to first to try for a double play sailed over first baseman Dason Ott''s head, to allow an unearned run.
The Cowboys were the beneficiary of three Juab errors in the third inning to tally three runs. Tyrell Reidhead reached first when his shot down the line got by the third baseman. Orton popped out to second base and the throw to first trying to double up Reidhead was overthrown, allowing him to take second. A passed ball and he was standing on third. A grounder back to the pitcher caught Reidhead breaking toward home. He ran him down and fired the ball to the catcher. Reidhead slid hard and knocked the ball loose. The shortstop boots a grounder by Hafen and Guernsey tries to score from second. The ball gets by the catcher and Hafen goes to third. He then stole home on a passed ball to give Kanab a 4-1 lead.
Kanab added another run in the fourth when Reidhead led off with a walk. Orton beat out an infield single, and Guernsey ripped a liner up the middle to score pinch runner Cody Barber to make it 5-1.
After striking out the first batter in the fifth and getting the second out on a liner back to the mound, Brinkerhoff walked the bases loaded. Brinkerhoff struck out Wasp Kip Farrer to squash the threat.
Brinkerhoff set down Juab in the sixth after allowing a leadoff infield single, but then walked the first two batters in the top of the seventh. Taylor Guernsey came on in relief and got a popout to short. Guernsey struck out Jordan Bainter and then walked the bases loaded. Juab scored two runs with another walk and a hit batsman. The score was now 5-3, and a hit would tie the game. Orton was called on to get the final out, and he did just that when Skyler Richards hit a soft liner right back to him.
After that game, coach Fox said, "These guys always find a way to make it exciting."
With the win, the Cowboys faced Richfield, with the winner going to the championship game. This one also went down to the wire. Justin Orton manufactured two runs the first two times he batted. In the first inning, he walked, stole second and came home on a Richfield error. In the top of the third, he reached base on an error by the second baseman. Orton took second on a Taylor Guernsey grounder to third base, and advanced to third when no one covered the bag. He then stole home on a wild pitch. Kanab was ahead 2-0 without the benefit of a base hit.
Orton scored the third run of the game after leading off the fifth with a triple down the left field line. Two outs later, he scored on another error by Richfield on a grounder by Brinkerhoff. Orton was also on the mound, shutting out the Wildcats before a three run blast by Jake Cropper in the bottom of the fifth tied the game at 3-3.
Kanab wasted no time retaking the lead in the top of the sixth. After one out, Jordan Jones beat out an infield hit. After another out, Guernsey is walked. Hafen is hit by a pitch to load the bases. Facing a full count, Brinkerhoff hits a grounder to the shortstop. His overthrow of first scores two. Dason Ott made him pay for the error, cranking a first pitch fastball over the rightfield fence for a three run homer and an 8-3 Cowboy lead.
After a scoreless bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh, the cardiac kids made the coaches squirm one again. Two errors and a walk loaded the bases with no outs. A run scored on another walk. A grounder to short was flipped to second for the first out, but the relay to first was overthrown, allowing two runs to score. It was now 8-6 with the tying run coming to the plate. Orton bore down and got Hayden Coombs to strike out. Another grounder to short was flipped to second for the force out and an 8-6 win.
Ott said after game, "After they tied it up at 3-3, our team was kind of down. But when we got two runs back, I was looking for a fastball on the first pitch. I was just trying to get a hit to keep the rally going. I wasn''t trying for the home run, but I''ll take it."