TOOELE COUNTY — The Region 11 champion Stansbury Stallions hosted the first round of the 3A state tournament for the second year in a row on Saturday, hoping to make a run at a state championship. Instead, the Stallions dropped both games, prematurely ending their season and disappointing themselves and their fans.
Stansbury's first loss came on its home field against the Region 9 No. 4 seed, the Dixie Flyers. The Flyers jumped out to a 4-0 lead and withstood a rally from the Stallions to hang on for the 6-5 win.
"We stayed really positive in the dugout," said Trevor Cox. Cox pitched five innings, giving up five hits and two runs while picking up the win. Cox also had an RBI double in the fourth inning. "We scored runs when we needed to, and we played well as a team."
After going up 4-0, Stansbury was able to cut the Dixie lead to 4-3, and had a chance to take the lead when Wyatt Branch came up with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth. Branch made the pitcher work, but ultimately flew out to deep left field to end the inning.
After another run by Dixie to put it up 6-4, Stansbury had to score at least three runs in the seventh to extend or win the game. Stansbury fell just short, cutting the lead to 6-5 and stranding two runners on base to end the game.
After the loss, the Stallions made the short drive to Grantsville to play Juan Diego. Whoever lost this game would be sent home, and the winner would move on to St. George for the state tournament.
Stansbury was able to jump out to a 6-0 lead after it scored four runs in the third and two more in the fourth, but that lead would soon vanish.
The Soaring Eagles went to work in the fifth, scoring five runs and cutting the Stansbury lead to one.
Alexander Gudac tied the game in the top of the sixth when he drove in a run on a fielder's choice, and a few huge errors by the Stallions put Juan Diego in front, 9-6.
After hits by Wyatt Branch and Filip Anderson, the Stallions had a prime chance to cut into Juan Diego's lead in the bottom of the sixth. With two on and two out, Jackson Clausing struck out to end the inning, and the Stallions had just one inning until their season was over.
The Stallions got one run in the bottom of the seventh when Jarrett Anderson hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 9-7. Chance Shields stepped up to the plate next, representing the winning run. Shields struck out, and the game, and Stansbury's season, was over.
Stansbury finishes the season 17-7 and will miss out on a chance at the state title. Both Dixie and Juan Diego will head down to St. George to compete for the crown.
CJ Pronk is a Deseret Digital Media intern and a senior at Stansbury High School. Follow him on Twitter @BigCeeJ3113