The Stansbury baseball team had a summer to remember in American Legion play, winning the Diamond Classic and region championships before finishing fourth in the 19U state tournament.
The Stallions’ state-tourney run came to a close Tuesday evening with a narrow 5-3 loss to Lone Peak in the one-loss bracket at Pleasant Grove High School, snapping an impressive streak of four victories in just over 72 hours that kept Stansbury’s season alive. The Stallions posted a 6-2 record in the tournament.
“I’m proud of them,” Stansbury coach Jason Jones said. “They gave everything they’ve got. It’s an exciting thing. It’ll probably take a little bit for it to sink in. I wish we could have gone a little further in the tournament, but top-four shows a lot of character after losing (to Pleasant Grove on Friday) and winning four straight. We competed all the way.”
Stansbury rallied from an early 3-0 deficit against Lone Peak, tying the score at 3-3 in the top of the third inning. Nate Nunley and Cayden Clark drew back-to-back walks with one out, and Colton Sundloff drove Nunley in with an RBI single up the middle. After Gage Miller walked, Lone Peak made a pitching change, and Braydon Allie hit a blooper that the Knights’ shortstop couldn’t quite track down in shallow left field to bring Clark in to score. Sundloff then scored on a groundout by Jace Carroll to pull the Stallions even.
Lone Peak managed to pull back in front in the bottom of the frame, despite a heads-up defensive play by Carroll in right field. After catching a fly ball for the first out of the inning, Carroll fired the ball to catcher Austin Woodhouse to keep the Knights from converting on the sacrifice fly opportunity, gunning down the runner at the plate. However, with runners on the corners and two outs, the field umpire called Stansbury relief pitcher Bridger Shields for a balk, which forced in Lone Peak’s fourth run. The Knights added another run in the fifth with a solo home run off reliever Kimball Thorpe.
Stansbury’s offense managed just five hits in the loss.
“We ran out of juice a little bit at the end,” Jones said. “We didn’t get timely hits at the end, but I couldn’t be more proud of them with the way everyone competed right up to the last pitch.”
Earlier in the day, Stansbury led wire-to-wire in a 5-4 win against Herriman, though things got tense in the final inning. Trailing 5-1, the Mustangs led off the bottom of the seventh with three straight base hits against Stallions starter Clark. Herriman got a sacrifice fly off reliever Brandon Bastian to cut the lead to 5-2, and Bryant Nicholes gave up a bases-loaded walk to make it 5-3. Nicholes then got the next batter to hit a sac fly to left, cutting the lead to 5-4 but also recording the important second out. After an infield single loaded the bases again, Nicholes struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the victory and earn the save.
Clark, who allowed just a single run on six hits and three walks with five strikeouts in the first six innings of the game, had plenty of run support early on. Nunley’s leadoff single in the top of the first inning, followed by back-to-back singles by Clark and Sundloff, led to the Stallions’ first run on Miller’s sacrifice fly. In the third, Clark hit a one-out infield single, advanced on a base hit by Sundloff and scored on a base hit by Miller to make it 2-0.
The Mustangs cut the Stallions’ lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth, but Stansbury responded with three unearned runs in the top of the fifth. Sundloff hit a one-out single and was safe at second when Herriman’s shortstop dropped a throw on Miller’s groundout trying to get the force-out. That extended the inning for Stansbury, and Sundloff came home on a double to deep center field by Allie. After a walk by Carroll, Allie scored when Woodhouse reached base on an error, and Carroll came home on an infield single by Tyler Harris.
Sundloff was 4-for-4 against Herriman, while Clark went 2-for-4.
“We definitely came together as a team,” Jones said. “We still have a little work to do overall, but I’m really excited for our program and where we’re headed. We have a lot of good kids and a lot of high-character kids who love to compete. We’ll be back.”