San Juan Broncos open baseball campaign with two wins and two losses at Cactus Classic in St. George

by Rhett Sifford
Sports Editor
The San Juan High School baseball team opened the 2023 season with a busy trip to Mesquite, NV to play in the annual Cactus Classic this past Thursday through Saturday, March 9-11.
The Broncos opened with a beatdown of 5A Bonneville 18-7 in three innings on Friday. They played two games on Saturday, suffering a 15-0 loss to Enterprise and a 9-3 loss to the host team, Virgin Valley.
Following the setbacks, San Juan concluded the weekend with a second victory over Bonneville on Saturday 6-5 to open the year with two wins and two losses.
In the first matchup against the Lakers on Friday an eight-run first inning set the tone for the Broncos. Despite allowing five Bonneville runs in the second, San Juan scored seven of their own and cruised to the mercy-rule victory with 18 runs on 11 hits.
Parker Snyder led the way for the Broncos at the plate, going three for three with five runs batted in. Cooper Palmer had a three-RBI day when he cleared the bases on a triple. Jerzy Nieves also drove three Broncos across the plate and was two-of-two on the day with a triple.
San Juan stole six bases in the win: two each to Jake Ivins and Branten Bethea and one apiece for Nieves and Garrett Young.
Collin Baker got the season-opening win for San Juan on the mound, allowing just one hit and five runs while striking out three. Ian Johnson came on to close out the game, allowing two runs on one hit and striking out two.
In game two of the weekend on Friday the Broncos were no-hit by Enterprise starter Trey Randall. The Wolves collected ten hits in the 15-0 shutout.
Game three was a late-night affair between San Juan and tournament host Virgin Valley, NV. The Broncos opened with a one-run first inning, then added two in the second to lead 3-0.
The Bulldogs scored a run in the bottom of the second to make the score 3-1 and that’s where it stayed until they blew open the game with an eight-run bottom of the fourth.
San Juan was unable to score in the top of the fifth and Virgin Valley took the game 9-3. The Broncos got three hits in the loss, one each to Talon Mendoza, Garrett Young, and Parker Snyder. Mendoza and Snyder drove in one run apiece.
On Saturday San Juan was looking to get back in the win column and finish the tournament strong against the team they had beaten in game one – Bonneville High School.
This time with fifth place on the line the Lakers gave the Broncos a run for their money, making the game much closer than the teams’ first matchup.
San Juan scored a couple runs in the first inning, then added one in the second to open a 3-0 lead. Bonneville plated three runs in the top of the third to tie the game, but the Broncos answered with three in the bottom of the inning to regain the lead 6-3.
The Lakers scored one run in the fourth inning and one in the sixth, but the San Juan defense was able to hang on to get the third out in the sixth, shutting down the Bonneville rally and securing a hard-fought 6-5 win.
Mendoza had an excellent day at the plate, driving in three of San Juan’s six runs. He was one-for-two with a double in the win.
Johnson, Ivins, and Young got the other three hits for the Broncos. Johnson and Ivins got one RBI apiece. Parker Snyder was outstanding in the field for San Juan with five putouts in six chances.
On the mound Ian Johnson picked up his first win of the season, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out a couple Bonneville batters. Ivins allowed three runs on three hits and struck out three.
Following the trip San Juan Head Coach Jens Nielson said he felt the team’s defense was solid all weekend. “Hitting came in spurts,” he observed. “We saw some great things and we saw some areas that need adjustment.
“Pitching was a bright spot for us,” Nielson continued. “We have depth that can carry us far. The two losses don’t worry us. This is what the preseason is for. We will make adjustments and continue to get better.”
The Broncos are right back at it this weekend with another tournament, and this time it’s not such a long trip. The team heads to Moab on Friday, March 17 to take on North Summit at 1 p.m. They face Grand County at 9 a.m. Saturday and Ben Lomond Saturday at 1 p.m.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
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