The Stansbury baseball team has turned to a younger lineup for this summer’s American Legion season, hoping to improve its depth for next spring.
The young Stallions aren’t just gaining valuable varsity-level experience — they’re winning some ballgames along the way, as well.
On Tuesday, Stansbury wrapped up the regular season with a two-game sweep against Timpanogos, beating the Timberwolves 12-3 in Game 1 and following up that effort with a 7-6 win in the nightcap. The victories clinched the No. 5 seed in the league tournament for the Stallions, who will travel to Salem on Thursday to face No. 4 Salem Hills in a first-round matchup.
“A lot of these kids didn’t get many at-bats over the course of the JV or freshman season (in the spring),” Stansbury coach Jason Jones said. “It’s good to get them more experience, and it’s good to get out during the summer — with the spring the way it was with all the rainouts and everything, we didn’t get a lot of games in.”
Stansbury led Game 1 11-0 after three innings, thanks to a nine-run outburst in the third. The Stallions took advantage of four walks and four Timpanogos errors in the inning, while Kimball Thorpe, Ethan Wayman, Ashtyn Blake and Peyton Bleazard each had RBI singles. Meanwhile, Jace Carroll battled through illness to give the Stallions three-plus solid innings on the pitcher’s mound, allowing two runs on two hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
Zane Bryant pitched three innings of no-hit relief, allowing one run with one walk, three hit batters and two strikeouts. Blake was 2-for-3 with a walk, an RBI and three runs scored, and Thorpe was 1-for-2 with two RBIs, a sacrifice fly and two runs scored.
“I think the biggest thing was that we were aggressive on the basepaths,” Jones said. “We made a lot of good decisions picking up balls in the dirt and putting pressure on the defense. That was the biggest thing that stood out.”
Stansbury also benefited from a big third inning in Game 2, scoring six runs. Thorpe hit a two-run single and Bleazard added an RBI single in the inning, while Timpanogos walked two batters, hit another and committed three errors in the inning to allow the Stallions to take a 6-2 lead. Waldy Torres drove in Nate Nunley with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 7-2.
The visiting Timberwolves rallied in the top of the seventh to make the game close, scoring four runs. The leadoff hitter reached on a fielding error, and the second hitter of the inning reached on a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and second, Jones opted to have reliever Devin Olsen walk the next batter, but on ball four, Olsen suffered an arm injury and had to be helped off the field.
Tayson Miller replaced Olsen on the mound and walked the first batter he faced before Bleazard turned an impressive double play at third base. Another walk led Jones to replace Miller with Nunley, who walked the next three batters to keep the Timberwolves’ hopes alive. However, Bleazard then came in to pitch and got the final batter to fly out to Thorpe at first base, preserving the victory.
Thorpe was the winning pitcher, allowing two runs on five hits with two strikeouts and two walks in three innings. Olsen allowed two runs — one of which was unearned — on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in 3 1/3 innings. Bridger Shields had three stolen bases in Game 2.
“It’s a development league, but you also want to compete and do well in the league and the tournament,” Jones said. “We can build off of that and go into the spring on a positive note.”
The Stallions face Salem Hills at 6 p.m. Thursday. If they lose, they play either Judge Memorial, Springville or Timpanogos at 9 a.m. Friday at Salem Hills High School in an elimination game. If they win, they face one of those three teams in a semifinal game at 6 p.m. The top four teams from the double-elimination league tournament advance to next week’s state tournament.