Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
On a chilly afternoon last month, Dalan Bennett threw a ton of pitches in leading Panguitch to a complete-game victory over West Ridge in the 1A baseball semifinals.
In arguably his worst performance of the season, Bennett had a hard time getting ahead of West Ridge's batters, but his coach said he gutted it out and was going to stay out there until his arm fell off.
What Bennett did the following day in the 1A championship game is why the Panguitch junior is the Deseret News 1A baseball MVP this year.
On less than 24 hours rest, Bennett pitched another complete game, this time against favored Wayne, as the Bobcats prevailed 10-1 for their second state title in three years.
"I'm a little bit sore, but this feels great, it's awesome," said Bennett after that game.
Bennett only struck out two batters, but as was the case all year, the Panguitch defense playing behind him did their job.
"What made Dalan so effective is he threw strikes and he had a great defense behind him," said Panguitch coach Clint Barney. "Dalan has always been one who throws strikes and doesn't beat himself by walking guys."
In the title game against Wayne, though, Bennett found himself in an early jam, ironically enough, after walking two batters.
Panguitch's coaching staff, which contemplated all night whether to start Bennett on short rest, was suddenly questioning if it had made the right decision. Barney went out to the mound and asked Bennett if he had anything left in the tank after his draining semifinal performance.
"He said 'yeah,' and that's the last time I had to visit the mound the rest of the game," said Barney.
With a 3-0 record in the playoffs, Bennett finished the season with a 9-1 record.
It might've been a 10-0 record had he not taken a line drive to the forhead during a regular-season meeting against Wayne back in September. It's one of several lasting images that Barney will take away from the 2011 season.
With Panguitch leading 1-0 midway through the game, a comebacker drilled Bennett straight in the forehead, knocking him backward. Barney initially thought the worst, but after a doctor on site checked him out, they determined he was OK to pitch.
Wayne rallied for the 2-1 victory by scoring twice in the sixth inning, but it was a great example of Bennett's toughness.
Bennett, who also played some outfield and a little bit of infield this season, finished with a .418 batting average.
Randy Ellett, Wayne, Jr.
1.4 SO/inning, . 557 BA, 9 HR, 25 walks
Monte Clyde, Tabiona, Jr.
6-1 record, .600 BA
Stetson Hogan, Tabiona, Jr.
5-2 record, 22 stolen bases, 21 runs
McKade Holman, Tintic, Jr.
Ace finished with 6 wins
Ty Rees, Wayne, So.
.467 BA, . 573 OBP, great defender
William Sprowls, West Ridge, Jr.
Eddie Dunham, Bryce Valley, Sr.
5-3, .388 BA, 27 RBIs, 7 doubles
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