by Tad Barton
After opening the region schedule with a pair of losses to North Sanpete, the San Juan Broncos softball team bounced back big time with a pair of wins against the Emery Spartans.
The first game of the series was played in Blanding on March 27. The Bronco fans who attended witnessed a dominant win, as San Juan blanked Emery 16-0 in four innings.
The Lady Broncos completed the sweep on Friday, March 30 in Castle Dale, UT when San Juan edged the Spartans 9-7 to even their Region 15 record at 2-2.
In game one, the Broncos jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. San Juan added one more run in the third inning and then exploded for 13 runs in the bottom of the fourth.
With a 16-point lead after the third inning, the game was called, and San Juan notched their first region win of 2018.
Tassi Su’esu’e was a force at the plate, going three for four with a double and seven RBIs to lead the Broncos.
Gracee Bowers drove in four runs while going two for four; she also had a double. Shaelyn Squires, Chamique Lopez, Ryann Shumway and Keya Black each were two for three for the game.
Nizhoni Lacy finished the game one for four with an RBI.
Bowers got the start on the mound for San Juan and pitched four innings, giving up two hits and striking out one batter.
The second meeting between these two teams was a bit closer than the first, despite San Juan building a 6-0 lead after five innings. The Spartans trimmed the lead to four runs with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Broncos got those runs back, plus one in the top of the seventh, giving them a 9-2 lead.
Down but not out, Emery gave San Juan a bit of a scare in the bottom of the inning, as the pushed five more runs across the plate before the Broncos recorded the third and final out to secure a 9-7 win.
Su’esu’e and Shumway led the Broncos, each going three for four and combining for six RBIs (Su’esu’e four, Shumway two).
Nizhoni Begaye and Nizhoni Lacy were both two for four, while Lopez, Bowers and Black each went one for four at the plate. Lopez also had three RBIs.
Bowers once again got the start and the win for San Juan, giving up 15 hits and striking out four batters over seven innings.
Errors doomed San Juan on Tuesday, March 27, as the Bronco baseball team fell behind the visiting Emery Spartans, 3-1, after one inning.
After the bottom of the third, it looked as if San Juan righted the ship when they cut the Spartan lead to one run, 4-3, after Emery scored a lone run in the top of the third to go up 4-1.
In the fourth inning, the Spartans pushed their lead to 6-3. Pitching struggles and a pair of Bronco errors led to a four-run inning for Emery in the seventh.
Down 10-3, San Juan wasn’t quite finished, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh. It was too little too late, though, and the Spartans held on for the win, 10-6.
Corbin Palmer and Davis Mendoza both went three for four at the plate. Mendoza had one RBI.
T.J. Johnson and Elijah Lee each batted .500 on the day, going two for four, and Tanner Johnson was one for four.
Palmer got the start for San Juan and pitched six innings, giving up eight hits, striking out six, and walking just two batters.
Baylr Eldredge and Tanner Johnson both saw time in relief, where Eldredge had one strikeout.
On Friday, March 30, the Broncos got a little revenge on the Spartans, as they defeated their hosts 6-1. Scoreless heading into the top of the fifth inning, San Juan scored first to go up 1-0.
The Bronco bats came to life in the top of the sixth, resulting in five more runs and a 6-0 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, Emery finally got on the board, scoring one run to pull to within five, but the Broncos wouldn’t allow the Spartans any more runs, winning the game 6-1.
The win gave San Juan their first win of the season in Region 15 and improved their overall record to 4-7-1.