Tooele must like living on the edge because for the second game in a row, the Buffs trailed early and rallied late to make things interesting.
The Buffs trailed 4-0 headed into the bottom of the fifth but rallied for five runs in the final three frames to pull out a thrilling and dramatic 5-4 victory over Ben Lomond.
Alex DeSpain crushed a two-out, game-winning double to the left field fence to vault the Buffs to the melodramatic decision.
Zach Mikesell and Danny Wihongi recorded two RBIs each to set the stage for DeSpain’s game winning clout.
Mikesell scattered nine hits, struck out seven and walked three to earn the victory on the hill for the Buffs.
The game marked the second dramatic affair in less than a week for Tooele.
Tooele gave a talented Grantsville team all it could handle and more Friday at Dow James Park.
The Tooele County neighbors battled to a 2-2 deadlock after 15 innings before darkness suspended the local affair.
The game is scheduled to be resumed Monday, May 2 at 3:30 p.m. at Dow James Park.
The Buffs will earn the fourth and final Region 11 state berth with a win over either Bear River today or Grantsville on Monday in the tie game, both at Dow James Park, or Ben Lomond losses to both Grantsville today and Morgan Friday at Lindquist Field in a make-up game.
Bear River 16 – Tooele 6
Tooele hit the ball well April 12 against one of the state’s top athletes Jason Zundel.
The Buffs smacked out 11 hits against the Bear River hurler and MVP in the Region 11 affair in Tremonton.
And Jace Harris pitched well in the game for the local squad as well.
Unfortunately, Tooele made too many defensive miscues to beat the league-leading Bears, especially on their home field, and the Buffs paid heavy toll with a 16-6 loss.
The Bears struck for five unearned runs in the opening two innings and the hosts took full advantage to build a lead it would not relinquish.
Tooele interim-Coach Doug Harding said the team’s defensive lapse enabled the Bears to capture a home victory.
“Basically, we hit the ball really well and Jace (Harris) pitched well enough to win the game,” he stated. “But once against our defensive mistakes lost the game for us. It is frustrating because we have the ability and talent to beat good teams but we’re making too many defensive errors.”
The Bears took advantage of early Buff fielding miscues to rally past the Buffs and produce a home triumph Tuesday in Tremonton.
Tooele drew first blood when Jace Harris crushed a one-out double and raced home on consecutive singles by T.J. Witkowski and Alex DeSpain to build a quick 1-0 cushion.
Bear River countered with three unearned runs in the bottom of the opening stanza to take a 3-1 edge. Zundel and Jordan Hodge each reached base on Buff errors to open the frame and Marcus Hanley drew a walk. Dallas Miller smacked a two-run single and Hanley scored on a passed ball to give the Bears their first lead of the game.
The Buffs bounced right back to knot the game at 3-3 in the top of the second inning. Justin Brady cracked a two-out triple and Blake Olsen followed with an RBI single. Harris reached on a Bear error and T.J. Witkowski belted a run-scoring single to aid the rally and knot the affair.
However, Bear River battled back in the bottom of the second stanza when Brian Hess clubbed a one-out single and Zundel smacked a two-run home run. Then, three straight Buff miscues allowed two more Bears to cross the plate and stake the hosts to a 7-3 edge.
Tooele did push home two more tallies in the top of the third to make things interesting with a 7-5 affair. Zac Clausing and Josh Johnson clubbed singles and both runners bolted home on a clutch two-out, two-run double by Brady to pull the Buffs to within two runs of the Bear lead.
Tyson Steen belted a solo home run in the bottom of the third to extend the Bear River advantage to 8-5.
The Bears used singles by Miller and Isaac Williams in the fourth to open the frame and Sage Hurd followed with a two-run double to build a 10-5 Bear River edge.
Tooele cut the deficit to 10-6 in the top of the sixth. Harris rapped his second double of the game and scored on a Witkowski single.
However, Bear River erupted for six runs in the bottom of the sixth to end the game on the 10-run rule. Trevor Sorenson drew a walk and Hurd reached on a Buff miscue. Hess, Zundel and Hodge belted consecutive singles and Hanley cleared the bags with a triple. Miller cracked a sacrifice fly to push home Hanley with the game-ending run.
Witkowski paced the Buffs hit parade with three hits while Harris and Brady smacked out two hits each, all of which were extra-base hits. Olsen, DeSpain, Clausing and Johnson also produced one safety each as well.