Tooele opened the 2005 baseball campaign with a new coach, new philosophy and some reservations about where it fits in the Class 3A ranks.
But if the first five games are any indication of things to come, the Buffs have proved to be competitive with anyone and if teams don’t take the THS squad seriously, they are in for a big mistake.
Tooele has led in three of the five games to date and in two lost leads in the sixth and seventh innings against region rival Bear River and Cedar City to stumble in the affairs.
The Buffs opened the season March 7 with a 12-6 loss to Davis.
Then, Tooele dropped a 14-1 decision to Bishop Manogue to begin the annual Dixie-Pizza Hut Classic Baseball tournament Friday. Tooele took a 6-4 lead into the fifth inning over Bear River until the Bears rallied for five runs in the final two innings to garner a 9-6 victory over the Buffs. Cedar City pushed home four runs in the bottom of the seventh, all unearned in the third and final game of pool play Saturday, to erase a 6-3 Tooele lead and capture a 7-6 triumph over the Buffs.
Tooele also raced to a 3-0 lead on Grantsville in the placing game only to watch Grantsville push home three runs in the third and another in the fifth to garner a 5-4 win over the Buffs Saturday in St. George.
The Buffs venture to Woods Cross today to tangle with the Wildcats in a non-league affair at 3 p.m. They will hit the road to Bountiful Wednesday for another 3 p.m. contest. Tooele returns to host Park City Thursday at 3 p.m. in preseason action. Tooele now sports an 0-5 record to date.
Tooele High interim-Coach Doug Harding said his team is making some mistakes that are costing the team in the win column, but he is seeing signs of the team coming together quite soon.
“Number one, we’re still really young,” Harding stated. “We are making a lot of routine mistakes. When we stop making those routine mistakes we’ll be tough to beat. The top of our line-up is hitting really well right now and we have three good starting pitchers in Jace Harris, Zach Mikesell and Landon Montoya. The team is starting to rally around one another and get some unity and we look to be really competitive when region starts.”
Cedar City 7 – Tooele 6
The Redmen rallied from a 6-3 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning to capture a comefrom- behind triumph Saturday in pool play at St. George.
Blake Olsen and Jace Harris opened the game with consecutive walks and T.J. Witkowski followed with a walk. Alex DeSpain followed with a sacrifice fly to chase home Harris and spot the Buffs a quick 1-0 cushion.
Cedar City bounced right back with a run in the bottom half of the first frame when a two-out walk to Jordan Wood, a stolen base and Buff fielding miscue allowed the Redmen to knot the affair at 1-1.
Brock Sorenson cracked a leadoff double in the top of the fourth and raced home on a Danny Wihongi single to spot Tooele a 2-1 edge.
The Buffs tacked on another tally in the top of the fifth when Witkowski crushed a twoout double, DeSpain reached on a Redmen error and Sorenson clubbed a run-scoring hit to pad the advantage.
Cedar City countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game once again at 3-3. Kaylon Pickett belted a one-out double and Dustin Loveland drew a walk.
Zach Holyak rapped a fly ball to the outfield that advanced both runners into scoring position. Matt Isom came through with a two-run single to level the game again.
Tooele rallied for a pair of tallies in the top of the sixth when Zach Mikesell reached on a Cedar City fielding miscue and Olsen rapped a double. Harris ripped a two-out, two-run single to give Tooele a 5-3 advantage.
Sorenson and Wihongi smacked out consecutive singles to open the seventh inning rally for the Buffs and Chad Valdez drew a walk. Mikesell belted a RBI single to push home Wihongi and stake the Buffs to a 6-3 edge.
But Cedar City battled back in the bottom half of the final frame to steal the victory. Pickett clubbed a triple for the lone hit of the inning for the Redmen while five different Buff players misplayed balls to enable Cedar City to push home four unearned runs and capture the come-frombehind win.
Witkowski and Sorenson paced Tooele with three hits each while Olsen contributed a pair of safeties. Harris, Wihongi, Mikesell and Josh Johnson provided a hit each as well.