Tooele has had an up and down season during the 2005 baseball campaign.
And it wasn’t any different in back-to-back games Thursday and Friday against league rivals Morgan and Grantsville.
The Trojans rallied for three runs in the second inning and held on for a 3-0 triumph over the Buffs Thursday at Dow James Park and swept the season series between the two Region 11 foes.
Derek Roskelly scattered three hits and captured the victory for Morgan on the hill while Alex Clemens, Chase Woodard and Zach Markham all recorded RBI hits in the fateful frame.
But the Buffs bounced right back the next day and gave a talented Grantsville team all it could handle and more, also at Dow James Park.
The Tooele County neighbors battled to a 2-2 deadlock after 15 innings before darkness suspended the local affair.
Zach Mikesell pitched 11 innings and held the Cowboys to a two-run rally in the third and Jace Harris took the hill for the remaining four to hold Grantsville scoreless and keep the game deadlocked.
Meanwhile, Kirk Fawson gave up single runs in the sixth and seventh but pitched 10 strong innings to keep the game tied for GHS. Marcus Hamatake also took the hill for a pair of innings while Derek Erickson closed the final three innings with perfect pitching.
The game is scheduled to be resumed Monday, May 2 at 3:30 p.m. at Dow James Park.
The tight affair keeps Tooele in the hunt for a state playoff berth and within striking distance of third place Morgan. Bear River leads the league with a 6-1 record while Grantsville is in second at 5-2-1. Morgan sits in third place at 4-3 while Ben Lomond sports a 3-4 record and Tooele is at 3-3-1.
The Buffs can solidify their chase for a state berth with a home victory over Ben Lomond today at 3:30 p.m. at Dow James Park. Tooele also hosts rival Bear River Thursday, also at 3:30 p.m. at Dow James Park.
The Buffs sport a 6-11-1 overall on the season as well.
Tooele interim-Coach Doug Harding said his team played well in the two-day span.
“Against Morgan, it was one of those days where we hit everything right at them,” he stated. “The kids didn’t play bad. But we just couldn’t come away with the win. They had just one good inning and we couldn’t make up for it.
“Against Grantsville, it was a great game and one to remember forever,” he added. “It was a game of great pitching and both teams being able to get out of jams when they needed it with great defense. It was a fun one to be a part of. It was really great to see our kids play with emotion, have fun and play the game like they love it. Zach and Jace pitched really well and kept their hitters off balance.”
Grantsville Coach Travis McCluskey said it was a tough ball game between two solid teams.
“It was a heck of a ball game,” he noted. “Both teams battled it out for five and one-half hours.
I thought Zach pitched well for Tooele and Harris came in and did a good job for them as well.
Both of them kept us off balance.
I thought our pitchers pitched well out of jams throughout the game. It was probably a pretty exciting game for the fans to watch.”
Morgan 3 – Tooele 0
The Trojans rallied for three runs in the top of the second inning and held on for a hard fought league triumph Thursday at Dow James Park.
The Buffs threatened to score in the bottom of the first frame when Witkowski smacked a two-out triple. But a ground out ended the threat.
Roskelly reached base on a Buff fielding miscue to open the lone scoring frame of the entire game and Morgan took full advantage of the opportunity.
Clemens followed with an RBI triple and Woodard cracked a run-scoring double after that. Landon Rich moved Woodard to third on a sacrifice bunt but Woodard was gunned down at the plate by Witkowski to keep the game a two-run affair. Mitch Clark, who reached base on the fielder’s choice to Witkowski, stole second and bolted home on a bloop hit just over second base to pad the Morgan lead to 3-0.
Roskelly would make it stick the rest of the way.
Tooele threatened to score in the bottom of the fourth when DeSpain and Zac Clausing each reached base on consecutive two-out fielding miscues by Morgan. But a strike out ended the threat and kept both runners stranded in scoring position.
The Buffs attempted to push home a run in the bottom of the sixth when DeSpain crushed a two-out double to left center field. But a pop out stalled the threat once again.
Tooele failed to threaten in the final frame of the game.
Morgan managed just five hits in the game, three of which came in the fateful second inning, and all by the bottom of the Trojan line up.
Harris stymied the Trojan sluggers throughout the game, striking out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
Tooele could only muster four hits for the game, one each by Olsen, Witkowski, DeSpain and Mikesell.