HEBER CITY — The Park City baseball team visited Heber City on Thursday afternoon to face the Wasatch Wasps in both teams' final Region 10 game. The Wasps, playing for redemption after a loss at Park City on Tuesday, got a little bit of revenge as they beat their rival 11-1 in a game that was stopped in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Unfortunately for Wasatch, the game meant nothing in the final region standings as the 3A playoff schedule had already been set. The game that decided the Region 10 champion was two days earlier, and the Miners registered a 2-0 win in that contest to claim the region crown.
Wasatch came into Thursday’s contest knowing that it would be Region 10's No. 3 seed and will be traveling south for its first playoff games. But that didn’t stop the Wasps from taking it to the visitors Thursday.
Senior Kyle Kelly started on the mound for the Wasps and was stellar. After he blanked the Miners in the top of the first inning, he watched his team take a 1-0 lead when Mason Holmes' deep sacrifice fly scored Todd Ogilvie. Ogilvie, who was 3 for 3 on the day, walked and had advanced to third to put himself in scoring position.
Kelly shut down Park City for the next three innings before Wasatch exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth. With senior Tate Berg on first after a leadoff hit, junior Casey Peterson roped a triple, scoring Berg and setting the table for a big inning for the Wasps.
Park City got on the board, but only for a single run despite loading the bases in the top of the fifth. A misplayed ball in the Wasatch outfield allowed Park City to load the bags. Kelly then issued a bases-loaded walk with two outs, but the senior refused to break and got the final out with great defense led by shortstop Austen Cloward.
Wasatch then put an end to the game in the bottom half of the fifth frame with another 5-spot. Peterson led off the inning with a double. After Kasey Stevens was hit by a pitch, Jaxon Hermanson made Park City pay with a two-RBI triple. Ogilvie added an RBI single and Taggart Baxter finished it off with another two-RBI double.
The victory was bittersweet for the Wasps. Beating their fiercest rival in any game is a good win, but it may have left them wondering what if. For Wasatch to have taken the region title it would have had to beat Park City in both games. That would have been a tall order, but not an impossible one.
The Wasps' 2-0 loss on Tuesday was a pitcher’s duel. Park City won despite only getting two hits off of Holmes, who started for Wasatch. Park City ace Mark Trevino surrendered three hits to the Wasps, but they could get no runs out of them.
“It always feels good to beat Park City,” Ogilvie said. “We feel like we could have won that game the other day too. It’s fine though. ... We like our chances in the playoffs. We’ve been to St. George. We’ve played those teams. We’re playing our best ball right now, so I think we’re going to make a run at it.”
With the regular season out of the way, both teams now set their sights on the postseason.
Park City will host its first-round games since it won Region 10. The Miners welcome Juab in the first round and will have to contend with either Bear River or the Region 9 No. 3 seed in the following game.
Meanwhile, Wasatch heads to Desert Hills in St. George for a first-round matchup against Payson. The Wasps defeated Payson earlier in the year in the Orem Baseball Classic.
Wasatch head coach Mike Shoell doesn’t see that as an indicator of what could happen in the postseason.
“They’ll have their ace this time,” said Shoell, referring to Payson’s top pitcher, Wyatt Voorhees. “But we’ve been pitching really well these last few weeks ourselves. Mason and Kyle have been outstanding in their last few starts and so has Casey, so we’re confident there, We’ve got three or four guys after them that have pitched some this year too, so I like our pitching depth. That’s what it’ll come down too.”
Spanish Fork and Stansbury are the other two hosts in the 3A playoffs. Region 10 foe Juan Diego, which took second behind Park City and finished just ahead of Wasatch, plays at Stansbury and may have the most favorable postseason schedule.
If all three — Wasatch, Park City and Juan Diego — emerge from the early rounds, there could be some exciting fireworks in the semifinals. Wasatch would, without a doubt, like to have another crack at the Miners and the Soaring Eagle, which defeated the Wasps two weeks ago in back-to-back games.
“That would be awesome” said Kelly. “I’m new to the Park City and Juan Diego rivalries, but I’ve had a chance to play in them now, so it’d be fun to have another shot at them.”
Kenny Bristow is the staff sports writer for the Wasatch Wave and contributes to the Deseret News high school coverage for the Wasatch region. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To contribute to D-News Preps for your area, enquire at 801-237-2143.