It was just a matter of time before we got our bats going. It’s always tough to hit the pitch count limit, but I’m glad we got the win and that I’m still able to pitch this weekend. —Garrett Spencer
ST. GEORGE — For the second consecutive year, Valley and Tabiona met in the 1A baseball quarterfinals, and a trip to Friday’s semifinal game at Utah Valley University was on the line.
And for the second straight time, the third-seeded Buffaloes (1A South) took down the second-seeded Tigers (1A North) as Valley used a big third inning en route to a 6-0 shutout victory Tuesday afternoon at Dixie High School.
“We started out a little slow, but we came together and that’s what matters. Survive and advance,” Valley coach Joseph Sorensen told his team after the victory. “Let’s celebrate tonight, but we aren’t finished just yet. We have two more games before we reach our goal, so let’s keep it going.”
Valley’s Garrett Spencer had a day to remember as the senior pitcher allowed just one hit on the day and had a big performance at the plate too as the slugger went 3-for-4 to help give the Buffaloes the first lead of the game, a lead it would never relinquish.
After a walk by Bret Goulding, a double by Spencer and another walk by Roundy McClain to load the bases in the top of the third, Orrin Wood stepped up to the plate with one out and took his first pitch to right-center field for a two-run double. A passed ball then allowed McClain to score to give the Buffaloes a 3-0 lead.
But Valley wasn’t done just yet, as Gavin Hoyt added a two-run single to center to give the Buffaloes a commanding 5-0 lead.
“It was just a matter of time before we got our bats going,” said Spencer. “We have a lot of guys that hit can the ball well and that inning we just kept feeding off one another.”
Just about everything that could go right, did go right for Spencer as he started the game off with three strikeouts with a mix of fastballs and curveballs. The only thing that could stop the right-handed pitcher was his coach who took him out in the sixth inning after he hit his pitch limit for the day.
“I didn’t want to come out,” said Spencer, smiling. “It’s always tough to hit the pitch count limit, but I’m glad we got the win and that I’m still able to pitch this weekend.”
With the win, the Buffaloes will take on a team they know plenty about as Piute hung on to beat Wayne in the nightcap.
Both teams met in last year’s 1A state championship game — with Piute claimingthe state title — and now the two powerhouses will clash in Friday’s semifinal contest at UVU.
“If we do end up playing Piute, we’ll be excited,” said Spencer. “We’ve had some hard-fought games with them this year and it should be another close one. We definitely want some rematch after what happened last year.”
In the other two games Thursday, Panguitch took down Diamond Ranch 13-1 in five innings and will take on Bryce Valley, which defeated Green River 7-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinal opener.