The Stansbury baseball team was three outs away from an impressive road victory over Cyprus on Tuesday at Magna Copper Park, but the Stallions were unable to close the deal.
Cyprus rallied for four runs in the seventh inning to tie the game, then scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth on a bases-loaded walk to beat the Stallions 6-5 in the season opener for both teams. The Pirates (1-0) hadn’t scored since the first inning before their late-game rally.
“They got a couple weak hits that just got past our pitcher, and things kind of snowballed from there,” said Stansbury coach Jason Jones. “That’s baseball.”
Stansbury (0-1) built a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning, thanks in large part to the pitching — and hitting — of senior Jaydan Kelsch. Kelsch came into the game in relief of starting pitcher Conner Kincaid in the bottom of the third inning and allowed just one hit in four scoreless innings, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning. He also went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, two RBIs and a run scored, while teammate Peyton Thevenot was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored and Gage Miller was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and an RBI.
All seemed to be going well for the Stallions going into the bottom of the seventh, with senior reliever Bailey Hunter taking to the mound to try to slam the door on the Pirates. But Cyprus’ bats came alive with the Pirates down to their final three outs, as Jacob Brennan hit a leadoff single to give them a spark. Tommy Vincent was hit by a pitch, and Tyken Wren followed with another single. Parker Meldrum drove in a run with an infield single and Mason Miller was hit by a pitch, leading to a Stansbury pitching change.
Thevenot took over on the mound and was able to limit the damage somewhat, though Wren scored on a passed ball to cut the lead to 5-4 and Meldrum scored the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly. However, Cyprus completed its comeback in the bottom of the eighth after loading the bases with one out on two walks and a single, setting up Vincent’s walk-off walk that scored Braedon Anderson.
“It’s a tough one,” Jones said. “It’s tough at the first of the season when you’ve only had a few practices. It’s tough for kids to adjust to it.”
Tuesday’s game was the first for Jones as Stansbury’s head coach, as he was hired to replace longtime coach Ray Clinton this past summer. Jones previously served as an assistant at Grantsville High School before taking several seasons off to coach his own kids, he said, and he is excited for the opportunity at SHS.
“The opening came up and I decided to jump at it,” Jones said. “It’s one of my dream jobs. We’ve got a lot of talent here and they know the game of baseball. It’s my job to put the pieces together and make things work here.”
The Stallions were scheduled to face Viewmont on Thursday in Bountiful, weather permitting. Stansbury will travel to Westlake on Monday.