ST. GEORGE — Wayne outgunned Diamond Ranch Friday morning with a 10-6 victory, earning the Badgers a spot in the 1A fall baseball state championship game here at Bruce Hurst Field.
Like trying to tame a wild animal, Wayne was ever wary of Diamond Ranch. The Badgers defeated the Diamondbacks 23-22 three weeks ago, surrendering a 12-run inning in the contest.
"We knew they could swing it," said Wayne starting pitcher Hunter Batty. "They're good batters, but my curve was dropping where they couldn't get it today."
Batty pitched well, allowing Diamond Ranch just one run and three hits through the first five innings.
His teammates, meanwhile, produced seven runs in that time to stake him to a big lead.
"That really provides a lot of relief when the offense puts up runs like that," Batty said.
Bridger Brian, who had a couple of hits and a stolen base for the Badgers, said he knew they would need to jump out on top early to get the win.
"Those guys can hit, so we needed the right mindset to get going early at the plate," he said. "We felt like it was going to be tough, that we were going to need a bunch of runs to win this one. But we played clean 'D' and hit the ball enough today."
The Badgers started the scoring with three runs in the third. Garrett Chappell was hit by a pitch and went to third on a hit by Wyatt Van Orden. A walk by Jesse Webb loaded the bases with one out. Two runs scored on a DRA error, then Batty knocked in one more with a double to left-center field.
In the bottom of the fourth, Wayne struck for four more runs. Brody Durfey led off with a walk and got to third on a steal and a wild pitch. He scored on a single by Van Orden. Webb and Brian followed with RBI hits to make it 6-1 and Batty knocked in the fourth run of the inning on a groundout.Comment on this story
The Diamondbacks cut it to 7-4 in the top of the sixth when Garrett Frank knocked in two of the runs on a single to center field. But Wayne matched it with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 10-4. Diamond Ranch score two in the top of the seventh before the Badgers shut the D-Backs down and recorded the win.
"I thought the pitcher we started, Hunter Batty, matched up well with them," Wayne head coach Scott Ellett said. "He located his fastball well and had a good curve. He just got a little tired at the end."
Wayne, 18-5, advances to the 1A state championship, which is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Hurst Field. It will face Piute which defeated Valley in the other 1A semifinal on Saturday.