San Juan Broncos baseball season comes to an end
The San Juan High School baseball team finished the 2022 regular season with a 15-8 overall record. They were ranked third in the 2A ranks and were expected to make some noise at the state tournament.
But after surprising back-to-back upset losses to Parowan and North Summit in their first two games of the postseason, their season came to a premature end this past Thursday, May 12 in Spanish Fork.
Despite the tournament-opening loss to Parowan on the San Juan baseball field on May 7, the Broncos were still in title contention when they took on North Summit in one-loss play Thursday.
San Juan trailed for the entire game against Parowan, but led from the start against North Summit. They scored a run in the opening inning and added two in the third to lead 3-0.
The Braves rallied to score two in the top of the fifth, but the Broncos answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Then San Juan scored another run in the bottom of the sixth to lead 5-2.
Unfortunately that lead was short-lived. North Summit put four baserunners across the plate in the top half of the seventh to take their first lead of the game.
When the Broncos were unable to plate a runner in their half of the seventh it was in the books – a stunning 6-5 upset at the hands of the North Summit Braves and a too-soon conclusion to the 2022 season.
The stats don’t bare out the final. San Juan outhit North Summit 7-6. The Broncos were 10 for 31 at the plate for a .323 average; the Braves were six of 25 for .240. North Summit committed five errors in the win while San Juan was perfect defensively.
Junior Collin Baker had a ballgame for the Broncos, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a couple runs batted in. He put together an impressive 5.1 innings of work on the mound, striking out eight and allowing just two runs.
Senior Maddax Lee was 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI. Jace Palmer and Garrett Young both got a hit and an RBI apiece.
“To have it end this way was devastating, especially for my seniors who gave everything they had to be leaders and improve so that we had a successful season,” observed San Juan Head Coach Jens Nielson following the tournament exit.
“Collin Baker pitched a great game and put us in a position to win the game. We felt confident in our boys to pull it out. Even going into the seventh inning down one we felt confident that our boys would pull it off,” he explained.
Young led the team this season with an impressive .450 batting average. He was 36-for-80 with 23 RBIs, a team-high 36 runs scored, seven doubles, two triples, and a home run. He also stole an amazing 33 bases in 24 games.
Sophomore Parker Snyder was right behind with a .446 average. He was 25-for-56 with 22 RBIs, 17 runs scored, three doubles, and two triples.
Baker hit .395 for the Broncos this season with 30 hits in 76 at bats, a team-high 25 RBIs, 26 runs scored, eight doubles, three triples, and a homer.
Freshman Talon Mendoza has a bright baseball future at San Juan High. He hit .386 this season with 22 hits, 20 RBIs, 29 runs scored, five doubles, and two triples.
Rounding out the top five batters for the season is senior Maddax Lee with a .386 average, 27 hits, 23 RBIs, 22 runs scored, five doubles, a triple, and a team-high two homers.
In the field Parker Snyder led the team with 91 putouts. Bronsen Snyder had 53, Garrett Young got 48, Jace Palmer had 40, and Collin Baker collected 34.
For the most part, junior Jerzy Nieves and senior Jace Palmer were the leaders on the mound for the Broncos. Nieves struck out 43 batters while allowing 42 hits, just 18 earned runs, and 12 walks in 32.2 innings of work.
Palmer struck out 39 while allowing 34 hits, 30 earned runs, and 32 walks in 34.1 innings. Junior Ian Johnson struck out 14 and allowed 33 hits, 16 earned runs, and 12 walks in 23 innings of work.
Parker Snyder struck out 18 while allowing 21 hits, 11 earned runs, and ten walks in 13.2 innings. And Jake Ivins was impressive in his freshman year, striking out 13 while allowing 17 hits, nine earned runs, and six walks in 10.2 innings.
Though the wounds from the state tournament ouster are still fresh, Coach Nielson offered many good words as he reflected upon his players and the 2022 season.
“My heart hurts,” he began. “These boys fought all season, they worked hard, they listened, and applied what they learned. They were good teammates to each other who had each others’ backs no matter who was on the field.
“I am extremely proud of the San Juan baseball team. After last year I really questioned many things about coaching. This group restored my love of coaching. They were determined to be great, they put in the time, and had a very successful season.
“I will miss my seniors, Jace Palmer, Maddax Lee, and Bronsen Snyder, but I look forward to next year and am excited for the young ballplayers to fill the roles of the missing seniors. Look for us to be contenders next year.”
When asked what he remembers most from the season Nielson said, “I think what sticks out to me is the feeling of trust that these boys had in us as coaches, in each other, and in themselves. We never really felt out of a ballgame. We felt confident in our boys to win no matter what the score was.
“I am mainly just proud of their growth, their coachability, and the good men they are,” he concluded. “These seniors and their leadership started a change within San Juan Baseball.
“Our Freshmen saw good examples of leadership. This season will set the tone for many more successful baseball seasons.