by Tad Barton
Mother Nature has put forth some impressive effort to delay spring and along with it spring sports at San Juan High. But even she could not stop the Broncos. With snow still on the diamonds and a freshly-shoveled track, the Broncos had to adapt their practices. But they refused to be stopped, as they prepared for their 2019 seasons.
The San Juan baseball team officially led off their season on Thursday, March 7 at the Cactus Classic Tournament in Mesquite, NV. The Broncos first game pitted them against the host team, the Virgin Valley Bulldogs.
San Juan struck first when Trez Perkins scored from third on a passed ball. After a scoreless second inning, the Bulldogs knotted things up with a single run in the bottom of the third.
A scoreless fourth and top of the fifth set the stage for Virgin Valley to take their first lead of the game, which they did after scoring two in the bottom of the fifth to lead 3-1.
The Broncos answered in the top of the sixth with two runs of their own after Corbin Palmer singled and Randall Flavel doubled. With runners in scoring position, Tanner Johnson brought Palmer home and moved Flavel to third on a fielder’s choice.
Elijah Lee then scored Flavel, also on a fielder’s choice, to tie the game at 3-3. Virgin Valley was able to push a single run across the plate in the bottom of the sixth leading to a 4-3 final in favor of the Bulldogs.
Offensively for San Juan, Palmer and Flavel led the way with one hit each while Lee and Johnson each finished with one RBI.
Palmer got the start on the mound for the Broncos, pitching two and two thirds innings in which time he struck out five and surrendered three hits. Also seeing time on the hill in relief were Perkins and Shaw Nielson. The two combined for one strikeout (Perkins) and walked six while giving up four hits.
The second game of the tournament proved to be a little more kind to the Broncos, as they faced off against the Valley Vikings from Las Vegas, NV. San Juan came out of the gates with bats ablaze, as they scored four first-inning runs.
Perkins opened the scoring when he crossed the plate after stealing two bases before covering the last 90 feet on a single by Flavel. Flavel then swiped a pair of bases as well before scoring on an error.
A single by Nielson brought home Johnson, and Lee scored the final run of the inning for San Juan on a bases-loaded walk. The Vikings managed to get one run back in the bottom of the inning, but San Juan led 4-1 after the first.
The Broncos scored one more run in the third after Flavel singled, and eventually scored on an error by Valley. Johnson and Lee scored the final two runs of the game in the top of the fourth when the game was called due to time, giving the Broncos a 7-1 win.
Flavel finished the game three for three at the plate, scored twice, and had an RBI. Nielson was close behind with two hits and an RBI in the game.
Perkins, Lee, and Davis Mendoza each finished with one hit each and Kash Shumway drove home one run.
Johnson started the game pitching for the Broncos, going one inning where he struck out two, walked two and surrendered one run. Mendoza and Lee performed relief duties for San Juan. Mendoza finished with four strikeouts. Both Lee and Mendoza gave up just one hit each.
In their third game of the tourney, San Juan was hoping their 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth would be enough to hold off the Alta Hawks. Unfortunately for the Broncos, that wasn’t the case. They surrendered four runs in the bottom of the sixth, resulting in a 6-3 loss for San Juan.
Despite the loss, the Broncos outhit the Hawks 9-7 and both teams played an error-free game.
As in their previous games, San Juan scored first, though it took them two innings to do so with a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Even then, things didn’t start out too promising in the inning, as the first two hitters for the Broncos were retired.
With two outs, San Juan didn’t flinch and went to work. A single by Palmer and a Flavel walk set the stage for Johnson, whose fly ball single to Center Field scored Palmer and moved Flavel to third. Flavel would later score on a wild pitch.
Alta cut the lead in half with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Broncos. A scoreless fourth gave way to one more run for San Juan in the top of the fifth when Flavel singled to score Perkins.
Alta picked up their second run of the game in the bottom of the fifth when a Hawk baserunner stole home.
With a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Broncos just couldn’t hold on as Alta pushed three runs across the plate to steal the win 6-3.
Johnson led the way for the Broncos at the plate with three hits on three appearances. He also recorded an RBI and a double.
Kaylan Perkins went two for three while Flavel, Nielson, Palmer, and Isaiah Hannigan each notched on hit. Flavel also finished with an RBI.
Perkins got the nod to start the game pitching for the Broncos and did four and two-thirds innings of work, striking out seven, walking two, and surrendering just two hits and two runs. Johnson handled the relief duties, striking out one, walking two, and giving up four hits and runs.
The Broncos will be back in action this weekend when they host the San Juan Slugfest Tournament. San Juan’s first game will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16 at Centennial Park in Blanding.
The Lady Broncos got their 2019 season off to a hot start when they defeated the Kirtland Lady Broncos 26-19 last Friday, March 8 at Kirtland, NM.
Kirtland got on the board first when they drove in six runs in the bottom of the third to take a commanding 6-0 lead. That lead was short-lived, as San Juan answered with a 10-run fourth.
The scoring barrage started when Sadie Brown singled, driving in Gracee Bowers from third. San Juan’s next two runs came on a double by Kaitlynne Perkins, which scored Brown and Madi Palmer.
With two outs and runners on third and second, San Juan wasn’t done. Jalynn Swenson took her second pitch for a ride that resulted in a double and scored Reagan Workman and Perkins to cut the Kirtland lead to just one run.
The third San Juan double of the inning came courtesy of Amber Nielson and scored Swenson from second to tie the game. A base hit by Bowers then scored Nielson.
Brown then logged her second hit of the inning, which resulted in two RBIs when Bowers and Emilie Palmer crossed home plate, giving San Juan their first lead of the game 9-7. Brown later wrapped up the scoring when she scored on a wild pitch.
Kirtland wouldn’t go silently into the night, though. They came back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game to 10 runs apiece.
After holding San Juan scoreless in the top of the fifth, Kirtland retook the lead after scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to lead 13-10.
San Juan answered right back with a 12-run top of the sixth. Bowers and Emilie Palmer each singled twice in the inning. The duo also scored twice, as did Madi Palmer and Sadie Brown.
Workman singled and reached on a fielder’s choice and Swenson, Nielson, Perkins, and Makaeli Begaye each scored a run, and San Juan jumped back in front, 22-13.
The second big inning for San Juan proved to be too much for Kirtland. They scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth before giving up another four to San Juan in the top of the seventh making the score 26-16.
Needing 10 runs to tie the game, Kirtland took to the batter’s box in the bottom of the seventh, but San Juan allowed just three runs for the second straight inning to win their 2019 opener 26-19.
Brown led the way at the plate for San Juan, finishing four for four with a double and five RBIs. Right on her heels were Bowers, Perkins, Emilie Palmer, and Madi Palmer who each logged three hits and combined for 12 RBIs (Bowers two, Perkins four, E. Palmer two, and M. Palmer four).
Workman finished with two hits and three RBIs, while Swenson, Nielson, and Begaye each had a hit and teamed up for three RBIs (Swenson two, Nielson one).
Bowers took on the bulk of the pitching duties after getting the start. The senior covered five and one third innings, striking out three, walking three, and surrendering 13 hits and 13 runs (only six earned).
Perkins came in in relief and pitched one and two thirds innings, walking five and giving up three hits and six runs (only one earned).
The Lady Broncos will be back in action on Friday, March 15 when they take on Uintah in the first round of the March Warm-up Classic at the Canyons Complex in St. George, UT. That game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start.
Track & Field
The San Juan High School boys and girls track teams also started their season last Saturday, March 9 at the Red Rock Invitational hosted by the Grand County Red Devils in Moab. The girls team placed fourth out of eight teams while the boys finished seventh.
Individuals placing for the girls team include Tasiah Little, eighth in the 100 meters; Shae Nielson with a second place and Rachel Barton with a third place finish in the 100 meter hurdles; Rachel Barton with a second place and Shae Nielson with a third place finish in the 300 meter hurdles; Sadie Jensen in eighth place in the 400 meters; Shae Nielson, Maycee Conway, Tasiah Little, and Rachel Barton second in the 4x100 relay; Katie Giddings was fourth in Discus; and Katie Giddings placed fourth in Shot Put.
Individuals placing for the boys team include Kian Conway, sixth in the 100 meters; Lymir Benn, eighth in the 200 meters; Hyatt Todachinnie, fourth, Carter Redd, eighth in Discus; and Kian Conway, fifth in Javelin.