by Tad Barton
San Juan notched two wins over Monticello this past week to kick of their Region 15 schedule.
The wins improved the Broncos overall record to 8-1 and their Region record to 2-0.
San Juan, with eight wins on the year, has already matched their season total from last season.
Game one of the two game series was played Tuesday, March 22 in Monticello. Hot bats and eight Buckaroo errors led San Juan to a 17-6 victory.
Game two was quite a different story, as both clubs took advantage of good defense behind solid pitching to keep the run total down.
Monticello was able to cut their total errors in half from game one, but the errors they committed were the difference in the 4-3 San Juan win.
The visiting Broncos got off to a blazing start in the top of the first, scoring six runs. The Bucks answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first to trim San Juan’s lead to four runs, 6-2.
The Broncos continued to put up runs in the top of the second as they pushed three more runners across the plate to extend their lead to 9-2.
In the third inning, San Juan put the game out of reach, scoring seven more runs in their half of the inning. Monticello used the bottom half of the third to score three runs to make the score 16-5 heading into the fourth inning.
The Bucks started out the fourth by blanking the Broncos in the top of the fourth. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, Monticello added one more run to cut the San Juan lead to 10 runs at 16-6.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Broncos notched a single run before holding the Bucks scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, giving San Juan the win, 17-6.
Picking up the win on the mound for the Broncos was Mason Bethea who went two innings, surrendering two runs while striking out three batters and walking one. Tyler Draper was strapped with the loss for Monticello.
At the plate for Monticello, Thomas Anderson had the hot bat going two for two with one RBI. Hector Cordova was also perfect at the plate, going one for one with an RBI.
Brayson Wilcox went two for three with an RBI and Cory Langston finished the game with two hits on three at bats with a double and one RBI.
Kayden Draper went two of four at the plate with one RBI. Both Tyler Draper and Paul DeAnda finished with one hit apiece; each also had three at bats.
Rounding out the hitting for the Bucks was Drew Baird, who was one for four on the day.
Connor Palmer led the way for San Juan, going a blistering four for four on which he manufactured a double, a homerun and five RBIs.
Bethea, Kavika Su’eSu’e and Jordan Blake each went two for four on which Bethea had a triple and one RBI, Su’eSu’e notched a double and two RBIs and Blake had a triple and three RBIs.
Bayl’r Eldredge went one for three at the dish while Bronz Eldredge and Jay McDonald each went one for four.
The second game of the series was played Friday the 25th in Blanding. This game was more about pitching than hitting, as Drew Baird for Monticello and Bayl’r Eldredge for San Juan both pitched great games.
San Juan jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, aided by a pair of Monticello errors. The Bucks came back with a two run top of the second then held San Juan scoreless in the bottom of the second resulting in a 4-2 Broncos lead after two.
That’s when both pitchers and their defenses went to work and delivered four scoreless innings of ball. Then, in the top of the seventh inning, the Bucks look poised to, at the very least, tie up the game.
The Broncos dug down and held Monticello to just one run, though, holding on to pick up their eighth win of the season, 4-3.
Bayl’r Eldredge went the distance for the Broncos, striking out seven batters on his way to picking up the win. Not to be outdone, Baird also pitched a complete game, fanning six Broncos in the loss.
San Juan finished with just five hits led by Zach Brown who went two for three with a double and two RBIs.
Bethea and Bayl’r Eldredge both went one for three at the plate, with Bethea swatting a double. Bronz Eldredge finished one for two on the day.
For the Bucks, Keaton Young led the way with two hits on three at bats and an RBI. Four Bucks went one for three at the plate, including Kayden Draper, Tyler Draper, Langston and Baird who also had an RBI. Kayden Draper and Young each belted doubles in the game for Monticello.
The Broncos have three games next week. San Juan will resume their Region 15 schedule against the North Sevier Wolves in Salina, UT on Friday, April 1. That will be a double header with the first game starting at 2 p.m. and the second game beginning shortly after the end of game one.
The Broncos will continue Region play on Tuesday, April 5 when they travel to Castle Dale, UT to take on the Emery Spartans. That game is slated to begin at 2 p.m.
After facing Dove Creek, CO, the Bucks will continue their Region 15 schedule when they host Grand on Saturday, April 2. The game against the Red Devils starts at 3:30 p.m.