Dinos fight through adversity, sickness on way to sweep
Under the bright sun on a hot day in Stansbury, the Carbon High Dinos received a gut check in more ways than one on the baseball diamond.
And, after playing two of their more complete games all sesaon long, they passed with flying colors.
Carbon High defeated Juan Diego 6-5 on Saturday morning and finished off the day of baseball with a 5-0 shutout win over Dixie High to advance in the 3A winner's bracket in the state tournament.
"The guys deserve to be where they are right now," CHS head coach Troy Moynier said after the Dinos defeated Dixie High. "We went out there today and beat two quality teams in Juan Diego and Dixie High."
For the Dinos, while the end result was what they have worked hard for all season long, key contributions came from all over the diamond.
Freshman Cole Fossat hit a huge 3-run home run in the top of the first inning to help give Carbon an early 4-0 lead to start the game. In addition to his home run, Fossat also pitched 2 1/3 innings and kept the Dinos ahead before being taken out.
"It was nervewracking out there but I was focused on chaning speeds and working the inside fastball," said Fossat.
With Juan Diego threatening to steal a win, senior Derek Young was given the ball in relief with the tying run at third base in a 7-6 game. With one out, Young struck out two straight batters to end the game and give the Dinos the win as they celebrated on the field.
"I just wanted to get those strikeouts at the end," said Young who has become the team's de-facto closer. "I knew we had the lead and we made the plays and were able to get out of there with the win."
In the second game against Dixie High, the Dinos dealt with adversity early in the game. In the second inning, starting pitcher Dakota Cisneros was called for a balk with a runner on base. He complained of diziness and possible food poisoning but finished the inning before being taken out of the game. Fellow senior Bryce Blackburn also became sick during the game but elected to play through the pain.
"Some of the guys getting sick changed things up, but we had each others backs out there," said Moynier. "We had guys playing different positions than they were used to but that just goes to show you the character of this team."
Nick Rukavina came in relief of Cisneros and shut down the Dixie Flyer offense, pitching three innings of shutout baseball before handing the ball over to Young for the final two innings.
"Dakota was doing well out there before he got sick and coach (Moynier) gave me the ball," said Rukavina. "I have to be ready for that. We had to put everything together today."
Despite pitching earlier in the day, Young pitched and kept the Flyer offense off the board thanks to some defensive help from Rukavina who made a diving stop at third base to get the forceout at second base to close down a rally attempt.
The offense added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to get the win and secure a sweep at the regional.
The Dinos will now face Desert Hills on Thursday, May 16 at 11 a.m. at Utah Valley University. The 3A tournament was scheduled to take place down in St. George but scheduling conflicts with a baseball tournament at Dixie State forced the move to Provo.
"We have our work cut out for ourselves now," said Moynier. "These wins should give the team a lot of confidence going forward."