High school baseball: Kanab upsets South Sevier for 2A state title
The No. 6 Kanab Cowboys completed an upset-filled tournament with a state championship Saturday, the school’s first since 2009
For the first time since 2009, the Kanab Cowboys are kings of 2A baseball.
The No. 6 Cowboys finished off an incredible run through the state tournament Saturday at Larry H. Miller Field with a dominant 10-2 victory over the No. 1 and defending 2A champion South Sevier Rams.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said first-year head coach Craig Brinkerhoff. “These guys just played their hearts out.”
Sophomore Kash Kabonic was incredible on the mound for the Cowboys. He pitched six-and-a-third innings before hitting the 110 pitch limit, giving up only three hits and two runs while striking out two.
“It feels great. We haven’t won one since 2009 so it feels good for coach Brinkerhoff’s first year to come out and win one. It was awesome,” said Kabonic.
At the plate, junior Griffen Bone played a key role for the underdogs, going one for two with a double and two RBIs. Fellow junior Jackson Riddle also chipped in two RBIs for Kanab, a team full of sophomores and juniors.
“I don’t even know what to feel right now. It feels unreal,” said Bone. “But it definitely is good to come out and win.”
The underdogs looked cool, calm, and collected throughout the game, thanks in part to their preparation before the game.
“We visualized a lot,” Bone said. “We got the team ready, got to bed on time last night, and kept the energy going.”
Well, almost everyone got to bed on time. When you find out you are going to be the starting pitcher in the state championship game as a sophomore, sleep is probably a little hard to come by.
“I found out last night at 10:30 p.m. Coach told us to go to bed at 10:00 so I didn’t open the message so that he would know I was asleep, but I was awake,” said Kabonic.
Once awake for good, Kabonic put his headphones on and locked in, preparing to do what his coach and teammates believed he could.
“To hold the No. 1 team to a couple of hits and a couple of runs, that’s unbelievable. And he’s only a sophomore. He’s only had a couple of varsity innings all year, but we felt like he was going to be our guy with how he performed in this tournament. We thought we would hand him the ball and get it done for us,” said Brinkerhoff.
South Sevier came into the game as the top seed but had to battle their way to the championship game after losing to Kanab on Friday. The defending champs opened the game certainly determined to make some noise.
After scoring two runs in the bottom of the second, the Rams found themselves in a little bit of a jam to open the third. With the bases loaded and no one out, senior pitcher Ridge Tebbs walked one run in, but then settled in, striking out one and forcing two ground outs to maintain a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Kanab made the Rams pay. After back-to-back errors by South Sevier, Riddle hit a hard ground ball to the shortstop. Even though he was thrown out, a runner scored from third, tying the game, and the second runner advanced to second.
The very next batter was junior Lane Sims, who copied almost exactly what Riddle had done, grounding out to the infield but scoring a run. As the dust settled, the upset minded Cowboys had a 3-2 lead and momentum heading into the second half of the game.
As the rain started to come down, Kanab also decided to pour on the runs. A huge sixth inning saw Kanab go through the entire lineup at the plate, and then go through the first half of the lineup a second time. Bone got things going for Kanab on a deep fly ball to left field with the bases loaded.
By the time junior star came up to the plate again for the second time in the inning, the Cowboys had tallied seven runs on five hits, and turned a close one run game to an 8 run lead.
From there, the defense held firm, shutting down any South Sevier shot at a comeback and bringing the trophy back to Kanab for the first time in 14 years.
“Bringing it back to the community, they deserve it. Everyone in our community deserves it,” said Brinkerhoff.
It will certainly be a memory that the community and each member of the team won’t forget soon.
“That felt like a dream come true,” said Kabonic. “It was pretty awesome.”