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High school baseball: With win over Dixie, Snow Canyon advances to 4A state championship series

SHARE High school baseball: With win over Dixie, Snow Canyon advances to 4A state championship series

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Snow Canyon High School

ST. GEORGE — With the defending state 4A champions Snow Canyon Warriors struggling to a 6-6 Region 10 record and getting swept by a couple of region rivals along the way, the question on many people’s minds has been, “What’s wrong with Snow Canyon?”

As it turns out, nothing at all as the Warriors advanced to the 4A championship series with a 7-5 victory over Dixie Thursday evening at Bruce Hurst Field.

“We lost some guys to injury and were trying to move things around defensively and it seems like we would always kind of blow one inning,” Snow Canyon head coach Reed Secrist said. “But I really did have a feeling we would put things together eventually. Having Isaac Lyon back really helps.”

Lyon (son of former Major Leaguer Brandon Lyon) was set to be the ace of the pitching staff and play shortstop when he wasn’t on the mound, but missed most of the season after breaking several ribs early in the year. He still can’t pitch, but has solidified the Snow Canyon defense and played error-free Thursday night.

With the defense playing well, the Warriors offense got it going early. The game was tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning when Drake Kelly came to the plate. The senior, hitting in the No. 9 spot, reacted to an inside fastball and blasted it over the left field fence for a 3-run homer.

“I wasn’t really looking for a fastball, I just reacted to the pitch,” Kelly said. “After playing so long (Drake’s dad is an assistant coach for the Warriors), your body just learns to react to those.”

The no-doubter made it 5-2 and the Warriors pushed it 6-2 with a sac fly by Ryder Harrison in the top of the fifth.

All those runs came off Dixie ace Malcolm Bartholomew, who had seven wins and an earned run average around 2.00 on the year. But it was Snow Canyon reliever-turned-starter Jake Johnson that stole the show. He held Dixie to two runs until the sixth.

Homers by Boston Vest and Ridge Erickson chased Johnson off the mound, but sophomore Makaio Swenson came in and picked up the save for the Warriors after Dixie had cut it to 6-5.

Snow Canyon added an insurance run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Logan Mendenhall to arrive at what would be the final score, 7-5.

The Warriors have won four straight since opening bracket play with a 12-3 loss to Bear River.

“That was really disappointing and after that loss we just decided to come out and play our game and see what happens,” Kelly said. “It was ‘Go Time!’ after that.”

The Warriors won 3-of-4 from the Flyers this year, tagging Dixie (23-6) with its only losses since March. Dixie got a 2-run home run from Derek Kesterson and Ridge Erickson’s two-run blast in the sixth cut it to 6-5. The Warriors, 22-10, withstood the rally and will now play a best-of-three series with Crimson Cliffs Friday and Saturday for the state 4A Championship.

The Mustangs, 21-4, beat Snow Canyon twice back on Apr. 29 and Mar. 1 with neither game very close at 8-4 and 7-1.

Friday’s Game 1 is at 7 p.m. and Game 2 is Saturday at noon with an if necessary game to follow.