The road has been rough for the Tooele American Legion baseball team this season. But it looked like they might have a reason to celebrate Saturday afternoon in the second game at Stansbury.
Tooele lost the opener 10-0 after five innings on the mercy rule. Everything looked brighter for Tooele in the second game when it jumped out to a 3-0 lead after batting in the third inning.
Stansbury narrowed the gap to 3-2 after three complete and then tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the fourth.
The Stallions seemed to take some control with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 5-3, but Tooele responded with four runs in the top of the seventh to lead 7-5.
Errors have haunted Tooele throughout the season, and that came back to haunt them in the bottom of the seventh with Stansbury tying the game. Stansbury cut the lead to 7-6, and Tooele brought in Tyler Von Hatten from second base to pitch with one out and runners at first and third. Von Hatten pitched the first game for Tooele.
Tooele got a second out when Jacob Peterson was tagged out at home after a wild pitch. With two outs, Stansbury’s CJ Johnson hit a towering pop fly that reached the shallow outfield and just out of the reach of Tooele defenders who could not make the catch to end the game. The ball dropped and Trenton Griffith scored to tie the game. Stansbury had the go-ahead run at third base, but Von Hatten pitched a strikeout to end the seventh with the score tied at 7-7.
Stansbury won the game in the bottom of eighth when Nick Mackay led off with a double that hit the left field fence on a the fly. He came home on a wild pitch.
“That was a tough one to swallow. I really wanted it for the boys because they have been competing so hard all year,” said Tooele coach Catham Beer.
“Our record in legion hasn’t been great, but we did have a shot at our rivals. You want to win against all the teams, but it would have been especially nice to get one against Stansbury,” the coach said. “We haven’t been blown out too much this year, and we’ve had a few close games where we simply beat ourselves like the second game Saturday. We’re getting there and it’s looking up for the high school season next year. We just need to limit the number or errors.”
Meanwhile, Stansbury sits in second place in the Northern League and coach Ray Clinton said his team has a chance to repeat as the Utah American Legion champion a the tourney which runs the first week of August in Kearns.
“We’re 15-3 overall and we really never have had a full roster of players for any of the games. During these doubleheaders I like to put our best team out there for the first game with some of the players who already have graduated. Then in the second game mostly use a team that will be playing for us in high school next year.”
Stansbury 10, Tooele 0
Stansbury ended the first game when it scored five runs in the fifth.
Back-to-back singles from Jesse Clingman and Cody Barkdull set it up for Trevor Clingman who pounded a double to deep center to score his brother and put Barkdull at third base.
Trenton Griffin then knocked a two-run double to bring home Trevor Clingman with the third run of the inning and push the score to 8-0.
Griffin went to third on a sacrifice fly to right field by Kyle Lindsley, and came home on a a single to left by Nick Mackay. Lindsley scooted to second base on an error, and came home to end the game when Ian Calder
singled to left field.
Griffin pitched a five-hit shutout for Stansbury in the first game. “Griffin is throwing well for us and looks to be our top pitcher on the high school team next year,” Clinton said. “He has great mechanics and he’s throws in the low 80s (mph). If he puts on some weight he could get up in the mid-80s.”
Tooele threatened in the first inning when Braden Furgeson singled with one out and reached third base on a hit-and-run by Zach Jeffers and a Stansbury error. Griffin struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
Stansbury scored its first two runs in the top of the first when Ian Calder singled to right, stole second and came home on a double to right by Trevor Clingman. Alex Mackay then smacked a double to deep left field for Stansbury’s second run.
With still nobody out, Tooele pitcher Von Hatten was able to get a pop-out and two ground outs to end the first inning.
Two runners reached for Stansbury in the bottom of the second, but Tooele scored a double play on a line drive to end the threat.
Tooele’s infield made some solid plays in the first part of the opener to stay out of trouble.
Alex Mackay doubled to deep right in the bottom of the third and scored on a double by Jesse Clingman. Jeffers made a terrific grab on a hard infield hit, and flipped it to third base to nab Jesse Clingman for the second out of
the inning. Stansbury led 3-0 after three complete.
Meanwhile, Griffin continued to mow down Tooele hitters with two more strikeouts in the top of the fifth and a ground out.
Stansbury pushed the lead to 5-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Lindsley doubled to center and came home on a single by Calder. Calder stole second and came home on a single by Trevor Clingman.
Stansbury 8, Tooele 7 (eight innings)
Tooele’s defense foiled a Stansbury scoring opportunity in the second inning. Griffin was able to scoot to second on a throwing error and went to third on a fielder’s choice. With only one out, CJ Johnson grounded out at first and the Tooele first baseman fired home to catcher TJ Bender who tagged the runner for a double play.
Tooele opened the scoring in the second game with a single by CJ Johnson. Johnson went to second on a balk and scooted to third on a sacrifice fly by Furgeson. Johnson raced home on a wild pitch.
Jeffers beat out an infield single, stole second and reached third on an error. Jeffers trotted home with Tooele’s second run and a triple by Von Hatten.
Stansbury narrowed the gap in the 3-2 in the bottom of the third. Jace Leyba walked, stole second and went to third on a single by Nick Mackay. Leyba scored on a single to left by Calder. Nick Mackay eventually scored to slice Tooele’s lead to one run. It looked like Stansbury would score more runs in third, but a diving catch by Jeffers robbed a base hit. Jeffers then flipped to second for a double play.
Stansbury tied the game in the fourth. Griffin reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and went to third on an error. He scored on a deep pop fly RBI by Jake Colovich.
Tooele pitcher Aaron Peterson was hit in the face on a grounder back to the mound, but was able to locate the ball and toss out the runner at first in the bottom of the fifth.
Stansbury grabbed a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Alex Mackay walked and Jacob Peterson singled to right. Griffin singled to right to bring in Alex Mackay . Later, Colovich knocked a bunt single to load the bases. Peterson came home on a walk to Leyba to give Stansbury a 5-3 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
Stansbury hosts Jackson Hole, Wyo. Tuesday, July 23 with games at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Tooele wraps up the seaon with games at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Layton.