East Carbon wins Region 18 title
|Junior Shane Wood had one of his best days as a Viking as he batted a double in each of two games on Friday afternoon. In between the games the school honored the two seniors on the team, but Wood and the rest of the players on the squad will return next season with a strong game next year and a possible state championship under their belts.|
There will be no coin flip this year.
Rather than tying for the championship of Region 18 baseball this year as they have in years past, the Vikings of East Carbon High took it to another level on Friday afternoon and whipped Tintic, the third place team in the region 15-5 and 17-5 in a double header at Tom Anderson Field in Sunnyside.
That means on Friday afternoon, they will have a play-in game with the second place team from Region 17, probably the Intermountain Christian School Lions.
There were many heroes in these two games, both of which East Carbon had to win to edge out 8-2 Dugway for the title. Some of those heros were the same young men that have stepped up all season, while others were players that showed their stuff when the outcome counted.
"This is great," is all head baseball coach Todd McFarland could say after the second game, and after having to flip the little pieces of silver to figure out who would represent the league in what seeding the last two years.
But the victories, while seemingly overwhelming by looking at the scores, were not that easy to achieve. In fact, Tintic came into the contests ready to play and play well. The difference was not the defense for East Carbon. There were times when the Viking fielding was not what it should have been for a team that is considered one of the best in the 1 A ranks this year. The difference was the bats.
East Carbon's batters went wild against Tintics questionable pitching.
"Our batting finally came on," said the coach on Monday morning. "We had some people really hit the ball in both games."
The first game started out with Tintic scoring at the top of the first inning and then the Vikings charging back in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-1 lead.
In the second inning, it was Tintics turn to turn on the hitting machine as they drove in four to take the lead. East Carbon evened it up in the bottom of the inning however with one more run.
From then on it was East Carbon as they drove in two runs in the third inning, and eight in the fourth.
Tintic had their chance to try and catch the Vikes in the top of the fifth and did get a couple of people on base, but were never able to bring them in, ending a five inning game because of the 10 run rule.
East Carbon had 15 runs on nine hits with two errors. Tintic ended up with four hits to achieve their five runs, but had four errors. Tony McFarland pitched for the Vikes and registered 11 strike outs. Samson Leonard, who has done a tremendous job catching for the Vikes this year garnered a triple during the game, while Shane Leonard hit a double.
Leonard's triple was the result of a play that some will remember for years. He hit the ball just right of center field. To most observers the ball went over the fence. But the officials weren't quite sure about it. The Tintic outfielders said it went over the fence, and everyone on that side of the field thought it did. In fact the Miner players threw a ball into the umpire that they thought was the Leonard home run. Controversy broke out on the field and so Coach McFarland went out to look for himself. He found a ball wedged between one of the advertising signs and the fence. The officials ruled it a triple.
"Who knows where that extra ball came from and which one as the real hit," said McFarland. "The one wedged in there could have been a practice ball from another day."
It was one down, one to go. After that first win, some of the pressure on East Carbon was off because the worst they could have done then was achieve a tie with Dugway, with whom they split games at the beginning of the season.
The second game began in similar fashion to the first as Tintic jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then East Carbon popped out four runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead.
Tintic tied in the top of the second and that deadlock held until the bottom of the third when the Vikes melted down the Miners defense for nine runs.
In the fourth inning East Carbon hit in another four runners, which basically salted the game away.
Tintic managed another run at the top of the fifth inning, but that was the end of it. East Carbon had won the title.
East Carbon belted out 12 hits in the game and only committed one error. That error came when East Carbon's first baseman missed a fly ball, but it didn't hurt the Vikes because Bryant Bridge, who was playing right field for the first time this year, was backing him up and grabbed the ball off the ground, tossed it to second and the Tintic player who thought he was home free was nabbed at the plate.
"That was a real heads up play by Bridge," commented the coach.
Austin Preston pitched the game and came away with eight strike outs. As for batting it was a glorious outing. Leonard had two doubles in the game and Wood, Bridge and Kevin Cline all had recorded a two baser.
Today (Tuesday) the team plays a non-league game at Green River and that will give them the chance to work out any bugs that may exist. The game doesn't count in the standings and it is doubtful that either McFarland or Dale Richards of Green River will use their best pitching since they both have key games the end of the week.
The game on Friday has not been totally set yet, but it will be at the Sunnyside Field, probably at 4 p.m.
"It looks to be ICS who is in second place in Region 17 right now," says McFarland. "Waterford leads their league and has beaten ICS twice this year. We beat Waterford in the preseason."
But as McFarland knows, the preseason was a long time ago and teams, people and circumstances change.
The Vikes need to be ready for anything.