Three runs in the first and seven in the fifth sent the Uintah Utes baseball team of Vernal, Utah, past the Bayfield Wolverines on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Scorpions Invitational at Ricketts Park in New Mexico.
The Utes won 11-1 in five innings in a mercy-rule shortened game.
“We obviously didn’t have the game we wanted today; we struggled at the plate,” said Bayfield head coach Bert Miller. “We talked to the boys about a different approach to hitting, and hopefully tomorrow we’ll put the ball in play and win a game.”
Senior pitcher Kyler Murray won the game for the Utes with five strong innings. He allowed five hits and struck out 10. Andrew Morgan was the losing pitcher for Bayfield. He lasted three innings and had four strikeouts. He gave up three hits and four runs – three earned – along with three walks and two hit batters.
It was the Wolverines’ first time on grass this season after having to practice the first eight days inside the BHS gym because of snow.
“It was just tough being the first game,” Morgan said. “I didn’t feel like I was exactly warmed up, but I felt like I was doing a little better. Next time out, I’ll actually throw a lot better.”
Rhett Hoover went 1-for-2 with an RBI for the Wolverines. Alec Demko was 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored.
“Fouled off three pitches with two strikes, pitches he couldn’t handle but fouled ’em off and got one he could, then took advantage of it,” Miller said of Demko’s long double to left field. “You make adjustments every pitch; he did and won the battle.”
Hayden Farmer and Dillon Vroman each went 1-for-2 at the plate, while Morgan was 1-for-1.
“We had three or four boys who put together good swings today,” Miller said. “The top of the lineup struggled a bit, but they’re all good hitters and they’ll bounce back.”
Joel Hardman was 2-for-4 for the Utes with a double, two RBIs and a run. Daegun Oaks was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI.
Bayfield dropped to the loser’s bracket and will face the loser of Grants and Montrose at 9 a.m. Friday. Farmer will pitch for BHS.
“He ain’t going to be able to throw more than 50 pitches, but maybe we can get three innings out of him and be right in the middle of the game,” Miller said of his ace.
Pine River Times sports writer Joel Priest contributed to this firstname.lastname@example.org