On Tuesday, the Park City Miners picked up their first region defeat and third overall loss of the season in a 3-2 showing against Murray — a result that ended what was an eight-game winning streak for the Miners.
But in the second game of the series Wednesday afternoon, Park City bounced back in dominant fashion.
With a 10-1 final scoreline, 5A’s No. 1-ranked Miners regained their form on their home field, improving their record to 12-3 on the season and 7-1 in region play.
Nine hits came from six different players as the Miners managed to find their form in the batter’s box— something they were unable to discover Tuesday against the Spartans.
Park City head coach David Feasler said that the win was big for his squad after they suffered what he called a “really tough loss” on Tuesday.
“We’re fully aware that we’re going to lose some baseball games, that’s just how the game is sometimes, but the best teams are the ones who can bounce back. … So (the result) is big for our kids,” Feasler said.
Halfway through the ball game, it looked as though another low-scoring, defensive outing was in store for the two sides, as Park City held just a 1-0 lead through 3½ innings.
But in the bottom of the fourth, the Miners opened the game up, scoring four runs to stretch their lead to five.
In the inning, three consecutive Park City batters had successful bunts — the last of which came from sophomore Will McCurdy and allowed senior Jake Rogers to score the first of the Miners’ four runs in the inning.
Feasler said the successful bunting opened up the game for his players, who struggled to find their footing in Tuesday’s game after taking nine days off due to spring break and weather complications.
“The bunt game literally got us going,” Feasler said. “That execution was huge for the dugout, huge for the team, and I think that’s what allowed us to get our offense going. … I think we finally decided (to accept) that spring break was over.”
Freshman Justin Michaelis — who led the Miners in both hits (three) and RBIs (three) — ended the inning’s scoring with a two-run RBI double, which pulled all the momentum to the side of Park City.
“We just had a sense of urgency,” Michaelis said of the fourth inning. “We were like, ‘We’ve got to do something soon or else they might come back and beat us again.’”
That urgency showed not just in the fourth inning, but the remainder of the game.
After a scoreless fifth inning from both teams, the Spartans managed to get themselves on the scoreboard with an RBI double from senior Trevor Dale in the top of the sixth.
But in the bottom of the inning, any hope of a Murray comeback was quickly subdued by Miners, who scored five additional runs and came just one run short of ending the game early with the 10-run mercy rule.
Braxton Lyon, Asher Levine, Rogers and Michaelis each batted-in runs during the inning to essentially seal the game.
Defensively, strong pitching combined with stellar infield play was the Miners’ recipe for success in the game.
Lyon started on the mound for Park City, throwing a strike on 52% of his pitches and allowing only three hits in just over five innings of pitching. Levine came on in relief and allowed only one hit.
Whenever Murray did manage to get contact on the ball, Park City defenders were always in position to clean things up.
The highlight play of the game came in the top of the sixth when junior Paxton Mobley sprinted and made a diving catch in deep center field for the inning’s second out.
“We made legit, effort plays,” Feasler said. “It was very clean today and it was clean yesterday. We’ve preached all year that we’re going to win ball games with pitching and defense, and our pitchers always do a good job of keeping us in it because they trust their defenders.”
The win not only redeems the Miners of one of their losses, but it also builds confidence and momentum as the team takes on future series in Region 6 against teams like Olympus and Skyline.
“Win or lose, the competitiveness and the toughness we put on the field today is going to pay off over the next four weeks,” Feasler said. “Bouncing back and showing guts is big. We didn’t have a ton of toughness in yesterday’s game and that’s why they beat us, but it’s good to come back and get one in Game 2.”
The ultimate winner of the series will be decided in Game 3, which will be played Friday at 4 p.m. at Ken Price Field in Murray.