The Stansbury baseball team came into its three-game series against Cedar Valley looking to take care of business against the Aviators, in order to shift its focus on to the double-elimination portion of the American Legion playoffs.
Taking care of business is exactly what the Stallions did, but not without a little flair. After defeating Cedar Valley 15-1 in Monday’s series opener, Stansbury’s Tyler Harris tossed a five-inning no-hitter in the nightcap as the Stallions beat the Aviators 10-0 to advance in the postseason. Harris needed just 57 pitches in a masterful performance, striking out nine with just one walk and one hit batter.
“The fastball was working really well,” Harris said. “They couldn’t keep up with the fastball at all, and they weren’t even close to the curveball when I’d throw it. It was a great outing — I felt solid with the defense behind me. Braydon (Allie) behind the plate — I love throwing to Braydon. He was calling a great game.”
The right-hander lovingly known to his teammates as “T-Bone” set the tone early in Game 2, needing just 10 pitches to strike out the Aviators in order in the top of the second inning. When Cedar Valley finally managed to get runners on base in the fourth inning after a Stansbury error and a hit batter, Harris responded by striking out the final two batters of the frame, and the Aviators’ only other runner was picked off of first base by Stallions catcher Braydon Allie.
“Ty’s been amazing all summer long,” Stansbury coach Jason Jones said. “He’s been our go-to guy on the hill and you can’t say enough about him. Nine K’s, a no-hitter — he was dominant all day long.”
While Harris kept the Aviators’ offense in check, Stansbury’s offense gave him more than enough run support. Jace Carroll scored the Stallions’ first run of the game on an RBI single by Peyton Bleazard after hitting a two-out triple down the right-field line in the second inning. Austin Woodhouse scored on a wild pitch by Cedar Valley starter Max Simmons in the third, and three more runs scored in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Allie, an RBI single by Gage Miller and a groundout by Harris to give Stansbury a 4-0 lead.
Four consecutive singles with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning by Cayden Clark, Allie, Colton Sundloff and Miller helped drive in three more runs for an 8-0 advantage. In the fifth, Bleazard’s one-out double to left sparked a two-run rally that ended the game via the 10-run mercy rule, as Clark was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Allie drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly to right.
“The bats worked today,” Harris said. “The bats were definitely going.”
Allie was 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and two RBIs in Game 2, while Clark, Sundloff, Miller, Carroll and Bleazard each went 2-for-3. However, Jones said his team got a little sloppy at the plate in the nightcap, which is something the Stallions hope to correct before the tournament resumes Friday at a time and location to be determined.
“We know that each game, it’s going to be tougher competition,” Jones said. “We need to be a little bit better with our at-bats and our approaches at the plate. It wasn’t a completely clean game, but we have all the tools to make a deep run. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.
“We know we can compete with anyone in the state. It’s good to have that confidence and that swagger, and now we just need to back it up.”
There were no such issues for the Stallions in Game 1, as they found a rhythm early against Cedar Valley’s Zach Boersma. After allowing the Aviators to score the game’s first run on Britten Bullock’s RBI single in the top of the first, Stansbury racked up six runs on six hits and four walks in the bottom of the inning.
The onslaught began with Clark’s one-out single to the left-field warning track, followed by Allie’s RBI single up the middle. Sundloff singled through the left side of the infield to drive in another run, and a stolen base and a balk moved Sundloff to third before he came home on a passed ball. Miller and Harris hit back-to-back singles to make it 4-0, and Carroll and Bridger Shields drew back-to-back walks to set up Nate Nunley’s RBI single. Shields came home on a wild pitch to make it 6-0.
Stansbury scored two more runs in the bottom of the second. Allie led off with a double to right and speed-up runner Ashtyn Blake came home on an error, while Sundloff was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch. The Stallions scored six more times against Aviators reliever Kade Beckstrom in the third, as Cedar Valley committed five errors in the inning. Clark capped the scoring with a solo home run to center field in the fourth.
Clark went 3-for-4 at the plate in Game 1, hitting a pair of doubles to go with his home run and scoring three times. Allie was 2-for-2, while Sundloff and Miller were 2-for-3 and Harris was 2-for-4.
Miller picked up the win on the mound, allowing one run on three hits with five strikeouts and a walk in three innings. Reliever Kimball Thorpe allowed one hit and struck out one in two innings.
“Gage threw well,” Jones said. “All day, we threw a lot of strikes, challenged their hitters and it worked out well.”