Tooele’s Brett Porthan had his final season of high school baseball taken away from him — and, with it, a chance for the Dixie State University to show why he was a preseason All-America selection on his way to playing Division I college baseball.
Fortunately, the American Legion season has given Porthan one last chance to don the Buffaloes’ familiar purple-and-white uniform, and one last chance to display his highly regarded pitching skills. He put on a show in Wednesday’s 12-3 win over Farmington at Dow James Memorial Park, allowing no earned runs in 6 2/3 dominant innings.
The Buffs (2-0) fell behind the Phoenix 3-0 in the top of the second inning after a rash of errors in the field. A grounder squeaked through the right side of the infield, and a throwing error by Porthan on a comebacker gave Farmington a pair of baserunners. Porthan struck out the next two batters, but the Phoenix came up with an RBI single to shallow right to take a 1-0 lead. A third error allowed two more Farmington runners to score.
However, Tooele wasn’t rattled by the rough start. Instead, as Porthan slammed the door on the Phoenix the rest of the game, the Buffs’ bats came to life. In the bottom of the third inning, Camden Colovich and Dillon Palmer hit back-to-back singles to jump-start Tooele’s offense before Porthan ripped a two-run double to right-center field. Porthan later scored on a Farmington error to tie the game, and Brock Beer’s RBI single to right-center drove in Mason Donadio with the go-ahead run.
The Buffs blew the game open in the bottom of the fourth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate as part of another four-run frame. Joseph Tippetts was hit by a pitch and Bryson Byrd walked to lead off the inning, and Palmer walked ahead of another RBI single by Porthan. Connor Spindler reached on a Phoenix error that drove in Byrd to make it 6-3. Palmer came home on a double-steal with Porthan to stretch the lead to four runs.
A bit of controversy followed later in the inning with two outs, when the home-plate umpire called ball four on Beer but the scoreboard showed only three balls. In the confusion, Porthan was caught in a rundown between second and third base and was tagged out for the apparent third out. However, after a bit of conversation between the umpires, Beer was awarded first base and Porthan was placed on third with speed-up runner Zander Adams on second. Jake Hervat then hit an RBI single, driving in Porthan.
Tooele nearly ended the game in the sixth inning via the 10-run mercy rule with another four-run outburst. Spindler hit a one-out double into the left-field corner, and Adams was safe at third on Donadio’s fielder’s choice. Beer hit an RBI single into right-center, and Hervat singled to left before Austin Avery’s two-run single to right-center put Tooele up 11-3. Byrd capped the scoring with an RBI single to shallow left, driving in Hervat with the game’s final run.
Porthan got the first two Farmington batters to fly out in the seventh inning before being replaced by Colovich on the mound. After allowing a base hit, Colovich struck out the last batter of the contest.
Porthan had eight strikeouts and walked just one to pick up the win. He was 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. Beer was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, a walk and a run, while Hervat was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
Tooele will play host to Viewmont on Friday, with the 17-and-under team playing at 3:30 p.m. and the 19-and-under team at 6 p.m. On Monday, the Buffaloes will face rival Stansbury on the road.