Two of three county baseball and softball teams still in state title contention after busy weekend
by Rhett Sifford
After the first weekend of the 2022 2A Utah State baseball and softball tournaments, two of the three teams representing San Juan County are still in contention for championships.
Though the Monticello baseball team’s season came to a close with tough losses to Duchesne and North Summit, both San Juan teams are still alive despite first-round losses.
San Juan Baseball
As the #3 seed in 2A baseball, the Broncos earned a first-round bye and a home game to open the tournament. They awaited a matchup between #6 Parowan and #11 Millard to see who they would play in round two on Saturday, May 7.
Parowan beat Millard 16-5 and San Juan’s first postseason contest was set. It didn’t go quite as planned though. The Broncos struggled to get the bats working and the upstart Rams scored five runs in the first four innings to open a 5-0 lead.
San Juan finally got on the board with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Parowan answered immediately, adding three runs in the top of the sixth to stretch their lead to 9-1.
The Broncos fought valiantly in a solid five-run bottom half of the inning to pull to within three. They held the Rams scoreless in the top of the seventh and were poised to complete a comeback in the bottom of the final frame.
But Parowan was having none of it. San Juan managed to put one baserunner across the plate, but their rally stalled and the Rams downed the Broncos in an upset 9-7.
Parowan senior Shaydon Benson was the star of the day on the San Juan ball field. He collected five extra base hits in the two games combined, including a double and a home run against the Broncos. The Rams hit three dingers against San Juan and all nine of their runs were earned.
Maddax Lee led the way for San Juan at the plate with two doubles and two RBIs. Parker Snyder knocked in a couple runs for the home team and Cooper Palmer drove in one. Jace Palmer took the loss on the mound.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Broncos, especially on their home field, but it’s not a season-ender. Since it’s a double-elimination tournament San Juan will continue the fight for the 2022 2A state title this week, although the path to the championship game definitely becomes more challenging.
They’ll have to win seven straight games to win the title, including back-to-back matchups against the same team in the final two games of the tournament.
The Broncos resume play against North Summit at Juan Diego High School in Draper this Thursday, May 12 at 11 a.m. The Braves entered the tournament ranked #12 and lost their first-round matchup with Kanab, but beat Monticello to stay alive.
If San Juan can advance past North Summit, they’ll travel to Kearns High School to face either #7 Beaver or #8 North Sevier at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday.
San Juan Softball
The San Juan softball team entered the 2A Utah State softball tournament ranked ninth and were in Duchesne this past Saturday, May 7 looking to upset #8 Altamont in round one.
But the Longhorns had other plans and, like the baseball team, the Broncos suffered a loss in their tournament opener 14-4.
Altamont scored six runs in the first two innings and didn’t let up, adding one in the third, two in the fourth, and five in the fifth to down San Juan by run rule.
Oakley Foy was unstoppable for Altamont in the win. She doubled twice, homered, drove in five runs, and struck out nine San Juan batters on the mound.
San Juan didn’t help themselves, committing four errors that led to three Longhorn runs. At the plate they left 11 runners on base. Hallie Palmer had a double and two RBIs in the loss. Adriana Johnson and Bailey Brown drove in one run apiece. Trinity Walcott took the loss on the mound.
Dropped to the one-loss bracket, the girls’ character and never-say-die attitude became evident. They bounced back in a major way in their second game of the day with a convincing 16-1 win over #17 North Summit.
The Broncos put up a 12-spot in the first inning, added three in the second, and one in the fourth to run-rule the Braves. Trinity Walcott struck out ten North Summit batters in the win.
Brown hit a homer and drove in four runs for San Juan. Walcott helped her own cause with three doubles and two RBIs. Johnson and Avina Cordova also had two ribbies apiece. Palmer, Kaeah Howard, and Sadie Cosby drove in one run apiece in the win. Howard hit a double.
San Juan head coach Mike Bowers was excited about his team’s effort “As a player I learned to love the position we’re in now and I hope our team catches the same fire,” he said. “Any game we win now sends someone else home.
“Our team has taken on a characteristic that is admirable,” he continued. “They won't quit. No matter the score they always fight. I believe we have the ability to shock some people this weekend and that's what we intend to do.”
The Broncos will have that opportunity in the second round of one-loss play. They’ll face either #3 Beaver or #6 Millard on Thursday, May 12 at 2:30 p.m.
The remainder of the tournament is being played at the Spanish Fork Softball Complex in Spanish Fork, UT. If San Juan can pick up an upset Thursday afternoon they’ll play #2 Enterprise, #7 South Sevier, or #13 Piute Thursday night at 7 p.m.
The Monticello baseball team entered the 2A state tournament on May 7 ranked 13th and knew they would have their work cut out for them, opening on the road in Duchesne.
Extreme underdogs against the #4-seeded host Eagles, the Buckaroos struggled from the start. Duchesne scored eight runs in the first inning, matched that in the second, and added four in the third for a 20-0 win.
Easton Young hit a triple for MHS and Devin Hatch hit a double and stole third, but the Bucks just couldn’t get anybody across the plate.
The loss dropped Monticello into the one-loss bracket where they faced their closest-ranked opponent in the tournament, the #12 North Summit Braves.
The Bucks got off on the right foot, scoring two in their first at bat and adding another run in the top of the second inning to lead 3-0.
But from that point it was all Braves. They scored one in the bottom of the second and two runs apiece in the fourth, fifth, and sixth to open a 7-3 lead.
Monticello battled back to score three runs in the top half of the seventh, but fell just one run short of tying the game, falling 7-6 in a season-ending heartbreaker.
The Buckaroos outhit North Summit in the loss 11-7. Carson Wells each had three hits in the game and Devin Hatch had two. Logan Draper, Javlin Robison, and Josh Kirby all had one apiece.
Wells drove in two MHS runs while Young, Hatch, and Draper got one RBI apiece. On the mound Hatch struck out eight North Summit batters.
The losses bring Monticello’s season to a close. The Buckaroos were 0-18 on the season but came close to wins on several occasions against North Summit and Dove Creek.