SANDY — It wasn't until after Waterford's 12-8 win over Piute in the opening round of the 1A Baseball Tournament that Waterford ace pitcher Cliff Snyder remembered what happened to his team two years ago. When Snyder was a sophomore, the Ravens erased an 11-7 deficit in the final inning to beat Piute 12-11 in the same phase of the single-elimination tournament.
The roles were reversed two years later, but the outcome remained the same. Nursing a four-run lead, Snyder got three-straight batters to fly out to preserve the Ravens win Monday.
"I just had a thought (about the game two years ago)," Snyder said. "But every time you play Piute it's difficult. I'm just glad to get to the next round."
Waterford will play Dugway 11 a.m. Friday at Southern Utah.
Snyder led his team to the win, throwing a complete game while striking out 10. Waterford's pitcher did have the luxury of playing behind a large lead, as the Ravens scored eight runs in the first two innings.
Waterford pushed its lead to 12-0 in the bottom half of the fourth inning before Piute got into the game. The Thunderbirds roughed up Snyder and scored six runs. Brayden Blackwell scored the first two runs for Piute off an inside-the-park home run. Kevin Morrill and Skyler Steed both had two-run hits in that frame.
Despite Snyder's struggles — he had pitched a two hitter until that point — Waterford coach Rand Rasmussen didn't consider taking him out.
"We had one of the toughest warriors on the mound," Rasmussen said. "It never really crossed my mind (to take him out). We were going to win or lose with him."
Having given up six runs, Snyder got out of the inning by striking out two of the final three batters he faced.
After taking an initial 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Ravens exploded for seven runs in the second.
While Waterford was aided by the fact that two batters were hit by pitches, the Ravens also came up with key hits during that frame. Kipp Robinson, Ryan Swapp and Spencer Linsley each had one-run base hits in the second inning. Jeff Skanchy broke open the contest, however, with a three-run triple that went over the head of the left fielder.
"It's nice (to pitch with a big lead), but anything can happen," Snyder said.
Simon Linsley went 2-for-4 to lead the Ravens. He had a two-run single the opposite way in the fourth inning.
As a team, the Ravens hit several outside pitches to the opposite field for hits.
"Our guys did a great job of hitting the ball the other way," he said.
As far as playing Dugway is concerned, Rasmussen thinks they have the advantage even though Waterford won during the regular season.
Dugway features Dane Schofield, one of the best pitchers in the state. Because the final two rounds of the tournament are played on consecutive days, the Mustangs will be faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to pitch Schofield against Waterford or try and save him for the final.
"It seems like Schofield has been around for 10 years," Rasmussen joked. "He's their horse, and my guess is that they'll pitch him."
In other 1A quarterfinals:
DUGWAY 8, ST. JOSEPH 3: Dugway's Dane Schofield fanned 11 batters in a complete-game effort over St. Joesph's. Schofield also had the game's only home run, a blast in the sixth inning.
PANGUITCH 18, WENDOVER 1: Ford Stewart pitched three innings of no-hit baseball, while Zac Orton went 4-for-4 with three doubles to lead Panguitch to the first-round win. Tyler Barney chipped in by going 2-for-3 with five RBIs, while Rawley Burningham was intentionally walked four times.
WEST RIDGE 7, WASATCH ACADEMY 1: Jeff Greene's double and 14 strikeouts on the mound for West Ridge assisted in the win.