San Juan High School proved once again this past weekend that we know our baseball and softball in southeast Utah.
Both the softball and baseball teams captured second place trophies at the 2A state tournaments.
Both teams traveled the difficult back door bracket, which involved an early loss and coming back to face an undefeated team for the championship.
The defending state champion Bronco gals gallantly defended their title with a sterling effort. The tournament was forced into three consecutive days because of rainouts last weekend.
On Thursday, the Broncos advanced smartly with convincing 5-3 and 10-0 wins over Beaver and North Summit.
Friday started well also, as the Broncos met the Grand Red Devils for the third time this season and avenged an earlier 2-0 loss. The Broncos came out on top of an injury-depleted Grand team 9-0.
Next was the Manti Templars, who were favored to win the title and who had bested the Lady Broncos twice way back in early April. The Templars had the Broncos number again, shutting down the Bronco bats and sending them to the losers bracket, 8-0.
On Saturday, the Lady Broncos awoke with determination, dispatched the Parowan Rams 8-2, and earned the right to meet the Templars once again. This time the Lady Broncos scored a gritty 2-1 win to force a deciding championship game, a winner-take-all affair.
Things looked bright for the Lady Broncos when sophomore Kelsi Meyer hit a three run homer in the fifth inning, giving San Juan a 3-2 lead. But Manti scored late to take the trophy and a 6-3 win.
Coach Craig Swenson’s team ends the season with an 19-8 record and plenty of incentive and tradition for next year. Sagan Shumway, Heather Meyer, Cassi Hosler, Danielle Wilson, and Abby Bayles were all named to the All-Tournament team.
The Bronco boys run to the runner-up trophy was no less exciting than the girls. The boys dropped into the loser’s bracket early, losing to nemesis and pre-tournament favorite, Kanab last weekend, 10-6.
But the Broncos won twice on Thursday at the Kearns High School baseball complex, beating up Manti and Gunnison to set up a Friday match with the favorite, Parowan.
Friday the Broncos of Mike Bowers triumphed twice again, beating Parowan 3-2 in a squeaker and out clubbing Richfield 13-9 to set up a possible double header against Kanab for the championship.
It looked late in the game like the Broncos would force that deciding game, holding a 12-2 lead over the Cowboys after an eight run fourth inning. But the Cowboys staged a tremendous comeback, scoring ten runs in the fifth inning to tie the game.
The Broncos showed some moxie of their own, after the Cowboys scored one in the bottom of the sixth inning to forge a 13-12 lead.
The Broncos squeaked a run across the plate to tie it in the top of the seventh, only to see the Cowboys win the championship in dramatic fashion, beating a throw to home on a bases-loaded grounder.
Kanab ends the Broncos season for the second year in a row after knocking the Broncos out of the tournament in the first round last season. The Broncos end their best season since they won the 2A title in 2006 at 23-6.
Lady Bucks make run
The Monticello gals showed they are coming up in the softball world by winning a couple of games at the state tournament for the first time in many years.
After losing a first round game to North Summit, the Lady Bucks, one of two 1A teams playing softball, rallied with 9-6 and 7-5 wins over Beaver and Juab, before losing a heartbreaker to South Summit, 5-4. The girls end the season at 6-12 with high hopes for next season.
The Monticello boys and girls defended their region track championships, proving once again that we know our track and field in southeast Utah.
Monticello track coach Jeff Hunt reports, “Well, we did it again; [a] third straight region championship for the girls and second for the boys.
“The performance of the day for the girls goes to sophomore Loren Randall, who won three events, 1600m, Medley Relay and 1600m relay. She was also second in the 800m.
“Senior Nichole Freestone also won three events (300m Hurdles, Medley Relay, 1600m relay), as did Martha Beh (400m, 1600m reley, 400m relay).
“For the boys, senior Adam Butler, in his second to last meet ever for Monticello, won three events, 800m, 1600m and 3200m.
“Other region champs include Jesse Barton (shot), Emmanuelle Reay (high jump, 400m relay), Macee Nielson (800m, 3200m), Devin Wright (400m), Ashley Moore (100m hurdles, 400m relay), Dallin Duncan (high jump, 110m hurdles), Steven Redd (300m hurdles), Rachel Beh (medley relay, 1600m relay) and Miriam Reay (400m relay, medley relay).”
Hunt continues, “Both teams appear to be in the mix for this week’s state championships. For the girls some injuries at St Josephs leaves the door open. It seems to be a four team race between Monticello, St. Joes, Rich and Panguitch.
“For the boys, Rich and Panguitch have the edge, but we may surprise a few people and sneak in there. Altogether, 21 students made it to state.”