|Jamal Lewis went 2-3 in the game with Lehi on Friday and batted in the only run the Dinos scored in the Region 8 contest.|
It's been two years since Carbon lost a league baseball game, but on Friday afternoon that all changed when the Lehi Pioneers, new to Region 8 this year, took the wind out of the Dinos ship of state sails by beating them in Utah County 6-1.
For many Carbon fans the reaction was disbelief, after a virtually perfect season last year, and the dominant lead they seemed to have taken over the region this year. Many Carbon fans who couldn't travel over the mountain listened to it on the radio, including a group of volunteers who were working on the Babe Ruth Field in the Price north ball complex. As the sod was laid on the field and the game slipped away, the faces of those laboring on the field got longer and longer.
It was the same all over for Carbon fans.
After the victory, Lehi players told everyone their team should be ranked number one in the state since they had defeated the top ranked team. But it is doubtful that they will get that nod since they were only ranked fourth last week. More probably, Carbon will lose the top spot to Park City, undefeated since the beginning of league play and also winners over Carbon in the preseason on the Dinofield in a 1-0 pitchers battle.
It's hard to say how far Carbon will fall in the rankings, but there is a good chance they will only move down to second, a place they became used to last year until topped ranked Snow Canyon was knocked off toward the end of the season, and they were finally put in the top slot, where they have been ever since.
Snow Canyon ultimately lost to the Dinos in the state championship game.
But Lehi shouldn't fool themselves: beating Carbon on Pioneer turf only means a tie for first in Region 8 and they have to go on the road, while Carbon plays Emery and North Sanpete at home, while going to Delta for their last three games.
The problem was that Carbon just couldn't get their bats going and string together the runs they had. With five hits in the game, all singles, the only score they were able to come up with was a run by Jan Jorgensen who had been sent to base when he was hit by the ball. Jamal Lewis' hit in the direction of third base brought Jorgensen in after he had been able to steal both second and third. That single run came in the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, Lehi's bats were on target. They led off with one run in the first and never had to look back, scoring two more in the fourth and fifth inning and one in the top of the seventh.
The reality is that Carbon may well have to share the title with Lehi this year. Both teams face other squads they have pretty much dominated throughout the rest of the season. If a tie occurs it is unclear how the teams will be seeded. A playoff may occur for who will go in as the top team, but in either case Carbon would face the number three or four place team from Region 9 which right now are Hurricane and Cedar City, both of whom are locked in a battle for those spots.
In terms of state rankings, Park City with it's undefeated league record seems to be everyone's idea of a team to beat, but Bear River is also another team to reckon with. The Bears are 6-0 in a good Region 11.
And don't forget Region 9. Snow Canyon is once again on top, but most state prognosticators say that Cedar City with it's overall 8-6 record (only 3-3 in league play) is still the best team in the southwest corner of the state. Certainly Snow Canyon, Hurricane and Pine View who all lead them in region play.
Carbon now needs to regroup and face North Sanpete, seemingly the doormat of the league this season, but the Hawks can never be taken lightly. Even though they were blown out by Delta 24-0 recently, they can still be a threat to anyone in the league.
That game will be on the Dinofield today (Tuesday) at 3:30 p.m.