Skyler Cloward no-hit the Ogden Tigers, and the Grantsville Cowboys scored all their runs in one inning to come away with a 10-0 region victory on Thursday.
With both teams scorelesss going into the bottom of the fifth inning, the Cowboys put the ball in play and capitalized on the Tigers’ mistakes to score 10 runs and preserve Skyler Cloward’s no-hitter.
Cloward struck out six batters and walked one in the top of the fourth inning on his way to the no-hitter. Cloward still managed to face the minimum number of hitters because the Tiger he walked was eventually thrown out trying to steal second. Catcher Kelby Landon made the throw and second baseman Manny Begay applied the tag for the out.
Cloward didn’t want to talk about the no-hitter, but instead he talked about the importance of the win after losing in extra innings to Stansbury the previous night.
“It was a must-win game,” Cloward said. “[Ogden] got us last time, and after [Wednesday] we just had to get a win. That’s all I was thinking.”
Ogden defeated Grantsville 6-4 on March 19, so getting the win this time around took away any tiebreaker opportunities the Tigers could have gained. The win also helped Grantsville stay ahead of Bear River for second place in Region 11. Both teams have 5-2 region records with the Cowboys currently holding the tiebreaker over the Bears.
Grantsville coach Loren Anderson said Cloward has battled through soreness but felt like he was ready to go out and pitch.
“He wanted the baseball,” Anderson said. “He’s been hurt and sore so we held him down. We had it checked out, and there were no problems. He knew we were kind of in trouble after [Wednesday]. That’s a test of his character.”
The Tigers held down the Cowboys’ offense for the most part, as Begay recorded the only hit through the first four innings — an infield single in the bottom of the second inning. Finally, the Cowboys turned to small ball to break through and get runners on base.
“We started out with bunts,” Cloward said. “[The Tigers] made some mistakes, and we took advantage.”
Begay opened the bottom of the fifth with a bunt for a single, which was then followed by another bunt for a base hit by left fielder Quinton Smith. Shortstop Nick Arbon hit a grounder, and then a throwing error to third base by the Tigers went into the outfield. Both Begay and Smith scored on the play, and Arbon reached third base. First baseman Brayden Hamatake popped up on the next at-bat, but the Ogden catcher dropped the ball, and Hamatake reached second base safely. Center fielder Dalen Williams drove in Arbon on the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0.
Landon kept the scoring going with a base hit to score Hamatake, and then an RBI double by third baseman Ky Fisher scored Landon for a 5-0 lead and only one out in the inning. Cloward helped his own cause with a sky-high fly ball, but Ogden’s left fielder lost the ball in the sun, and it fell for an RBI double that scored Fisher.
Right fielder Wyatt Barrus drew a walk, Begay flew out and Smith walked to load the bases for Arbon. He knocked a base hit to score two runs, and then another overthrow at third allowed Smith to score and move Arbon to third.
With the score at 9-0 and Hamatake at the plate, a passed ball got by the catcher, and Arbon scored the game-ending run from third.
“They made some mistakes, and obviously we didn’t do it all,” Anderson said. “We put balls in play and got bunts down. We made them have to make plays, and they made a couple of mistakes. We’re a good team, and we took advantage.”
Anderson pointed out the importance of Thursday’s win because of the emotional loss the Cowboys suffered to Stansbury. He said his team fought back because they’re playing for playoff seeding, knowing that all teams are fighting for their lives.
Grantsville’s next game is on the road today against Morgan. It’ll then host Ben Lomond on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.