When Dixie and Uintah met Friday, a spot in the 3A state title game was on the line.
The winners would get an easy road to the 3A baseball championship. The loser would have to win three games all in a six-hour span in order to call themselves the state's best.Uintah, by virtue of its 2-1 win in eight innings is the lucky team with the inside track to the title.
"That's a big feat," said Uintah coach Brent Labrum. "We feel really like we're in a good position and we have to like our chances."
The Utes made it as far as they did with their trademark pitching.
With all-stater Fudge Peterson playing outfield after tossing a one-hitter the day before, Adam Madsen took his turn on the Bruce Hurst Field mound and befuddled the Flyers all game long.
Madsen and Dixie pitcher Dave Greeley engaged in a classic pitchers duel in every way possible.
Greeley kept the Ute batters off balance with his side-arm delivery and off-speed pitches. Madsen, on the other hand, got a lot of help from his defense as well as coming up with a key strikeout when he needed one.
But the pitching duo not only battled on the mound, they were each others worst enemies at the plate.
Madsen allowed only seven hits over eight innings, but three of those were by Greeley.
The Utes also got seven hits in the game and Madsen, in four trips to the plate, reached base three times and missed ending the game in the seventh when his hard liner was snagged by Dixie first baseman Nick Ence to end a rally.
"We haven't used Adam that much this year, especially since the the region season started," Labrum said. "I was hoping he'd come out with that kind of performance. He threw real well."
Madsen drove in Uintah's first run in the third inning when his single brought home Andy Long who had doubled earlier.
The Flyers scored in the fourth inning when Tyler Hoopes' single pushed Brent Guerisoli across the plate.
The Utes earned the win in the eighth as a Greeley walk, followed by a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch, turned into a one-out sacrifice fly from Cory Kebert.
Dixie, by virtue of the loss, drops into a matchup with Delta for the right to play Uintah in today's championship game.
Delta took the long way around to the final day of action. After getting knocked off by Bear River Thursday, the Rabbits worked through the losers bracket in the double elimination tournament and eventually met up with the Bears again in Friday's final game.
This time, the Rabbits beat up the Bears 16-4 and will meet Dixie at 9:30 this morning.
ST. GEORGE - Things couldn't have looked much more bleak for the Snow Canyon Warriors.
Undefeated Union had just scored two runs in the top half of the eighth inning and had two outs on the Warriors.
But in the world of extra innings in girls softball, nothing is ever certain. But one thing that was certain was that Snow Canyon was also undefeated and wasn't about to go down without a fight.
"Our kids worked hard all along to be ready for this," said Snow Canyon coach Wane Kittrell after his team stormed back for three runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning to beat the Cougars, 3-2. "You go to the plate and give it all you've got. And when you run, you run all the way to the plate."
That advice came in handy.
The Warriors score one run quickly in the eighth, but still trailed by a run.
A single put runners on first and second with no outs. But consecutive grounders ended in force outs at third and Snow Canyon looked on its way to defeat.
But when pinch hitter Alisha Oropeza laid down a swinging bunt, it couldn't have turned out better for Snow Canyon. Union pitcher Hilary Hamlin's throw to first was off the mark and the resulting error allowed the tying run to score.
Oropeza made a run for second while Jocelyn Anderson was rounding third after starting the play at first.
Union made a play at second, but that throw also missed its mark and Anderson was able to scamper home sending the Warriors into the state title game.
"I was actually more worried that she was going to get tagged at second before she made it across the plate," Kittrell said. "We're lucky the ball got away because I don't know if she would have made it in time."
The Warriors won the game despite being outplayed at the plate by the Cougars. Union stroked a dozen hits in scoring three runs. Snow Canyon only managed four hits in the game.
"Union can hit the ball," Kittrell said. "They always have and they probably always will. I wish I knew some of (Union coach Kay Bowthorpe's) secrets."
But, as they say, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
And with two Union errors on one play after having two outs, the Warriors can say they were lucky.
But after posting a perfect 13-0 record, saying they were good, is probably more accurate.
The Warriors will play for the title today at 12:30 after Union meets the Lehi/Bear River winner to determine the other 3A finalist at 10 a.m.