Tooele is playing well enough to win some baseball games this spring.
Unfortunately, the Buffs just can’t close out the contests with a lead.
Bountiful rallied from a 6-4 deficit with two runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to capture a comefrom- behind 9-6 triumph over Tooele Wednesday in Bountiful.
Aaron Dell took the hill in the fifth and held the Buffs scoreless and gave the Braves a chance to battle back in the final frames of the game. Dell contributed three doubles and three RBI.
Brock Sorenson clubbed a double for the Buffs.
Tooele did seize their first victory of the season Tuesday when the Buffs recorded a 7-5 victory at Woods Cross.
Jace Harris went the distance and earned the win on the hill for the local squad.
Tooele rallied for five runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth and held on for the well deserved triumph.
The loss at Bountiful marked the fourth time on the young season Tooele has raced to a big lead but failed to hold on to the cushion in the waning innings.
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 as well.
Tooele returns to host Park City Thursday at 3 p.m. in preseason action and venture to Sandy Monday for a non-league affair with Jordan, also at 3 p.m. The Buffs also hit the road to Clearfield Tuesday for another road test against the Falcons at 3 p.m. Tooele now sports an 1-6 record to date.
Buff Coach Doug Harding said his team just needs to limit its mistakes to have a chance to produce more victories.
“We had a few breakdowns against Woods Cross but we limited those mistakes and continued to hit the ball and score some runs and come out on top,” Harding noted. “It was a much needed win, not just for the kids’ sake but for their confidence and to reward them for their hard work in practice.
Jace really came through for us on the mound and gutted it up for seven innings. We got the timely hits with runners on base and made enough plays behind Jace to get out of the innings.
“Against Bountiful, we played a really good game and we had another big lead (5-0) and just couldn’t hold on to it,” the coach added. “It was the same old story and another day. We just need to limit our mistakes and stay away from those long innings. I really thought Zach Mikesell pitched a good game and if we would have made the plays behind him earlier in the game we wouldn’t put the team in a tough position in the final innings. We need to find a way to hang on to a lead and limit our mistakes. If we can start to limit our mistakes, we will hold on to leads and start to win ball games.”
A story on the Woods Cross and Bountiful games will be published in a future edition.
Bear River 9 – Tooele 6
The Bears rallied for two runs in the top of the fifth and three more in the sixth to erase a 6-4 deficit and capture a hard fought triumph over the Buffs Friday in tournament action in St. George.
Tooele drew first blood in the bottom of the opening stanza. T.J. Witkowski and Chad Valdez were each hit by a pitch with two outs and Danny Wihongi drew a walk to load the bases. Brock Sorenson smacked a two-run double and Kyle McKendrick followed with a two-run single to stake the Buffs to a 4-0 advantage.
Bear River bounced right back with three tallies in the top of the second stanza to pull to within 4-3. Jordan Hodge reached on a Buff fielding miscue and Stuart Tingey drew a walk. Jeff Stanworth clubbed a RBI single and Brandt Hess reached on a Tooele error to aid the effort and push home Tingey. Jason Zundel reached on a fielder’s choice to push home Stanworth and pull the Bears to within a run of the Buff lead.
The Buffs countered with a run in the bottom of the second inning to extend the margin to 5-3. Blake Olsen and Witkowski each drew a walk and Valdez smacked a RBI single to extend the lead back to a pair of runs for Tooele.
The Bears countered with a run in the top of the fourth when Stanworth reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and bolted home on a Hess single to cut the deficit to one run again.
Tooele padded the edge back to two runs once again in the bottom half of the fourth. Jace Harris belted a one-out single and Witkowski followed with a single to push Harris to third. A Bear fielding miscue allowed Harris to bolt home and stake the Buffs to a 6-4 advantage. The Buffs would only have one more baserunner in the final three innings reach scoring position.
Meanwhile, Bear River tied the game in the top of the fifth at 6-6. Trevor Sorenson reached on a Tooele error while Marcus Hanley and Dallas Miller drew consecutive walks. Hodge and Tyson Steen each reached on Buff miscues to enable Sorenson and Hanley to bolt home and knot the affair with two innings remaining. Bear River pushed home three runs in the top of the sixth to grab its first and only lead of the game. Zundel led off the rally with a double and Hanley added a RBI single to give the Bears their first lead of the game, 7-6. Hodge and Isaac Williams ripped consecutive RBI singles later in the frame to provide a little breathing room for Bear River in the final two innings.
Witkowski paced the Buffs hit parade with three hits while Harris, Valdez, Sorenson and McKendrick added one safety each.
Bishop Manogue 14 – Tooele 1
The Miners exploded for eight runs in the third inning and cruised to the decisive victory Friday in tournament action Friday in St. George.
Tooele drew first blood in the top of the first inning when Blake Olsen smacked a leadoff single, stole second and third and scored when another Buff player was in a run down.
But Bishop Manogue countered right back with eight runs, five of which were unearned to grab an 8-1 edge. Glenn DeWeese opened the pivotal barrage with a double and teammate Nick Manguso followed with a RBI triple to begin the scoring. Andy Lujan smacked a run scoring single to follow Manguso and Matt Pagni also added a hit as well. Bishop Manogue took full advantage of three straight Buff fielding miscues to open the flood gates and another Buff error and fielder’s choice plated more runs and spotted the Miners a seven-run lead.
Manguso launched a two-run home run in the fifth to stake Bishop Manogue to a 10-1 lead.
The Miners erupted for four more tallies in the top of the seventh to complete the scoring. A hit batsman, two walks and hits by Pagni and a three-run triple by Marcus Masini ignited the rally.
Olsen and Harris produced one hit each for the lone offense of the game for the Buffs.