Tooele and Ogden played things close to the chest Tuesday, but when magic was needed, sophomore Nick Schwartzman delivered.
The Buffaloes came away with a 3-2 victory against the Tigers thanks to Schwartzman’s two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning. Schwartzman came in as a pinch hitter, but even coming off the bench cold for his first at-bat, he punched a ball to right field that allowed juniors Tyson Vigil and Tristan Prather to score. This put the Buffs ahead 3-1 going into the top of the seventh inning.
Junior pitcher Braden Furgeson ran into a little jam in the final inning, as he allowed one run, but he came through with a curve ball for his final pitch that forced a game-ending double play.
“Our coach teaches me how to pitch and just throw strikes,” Furgeson said. “I need to be a pitcher, not a thrower so just throw strikes and let them hit the ball. I know I have a great defense, and they’ll stop it for me.”
Tooele coach Catham Beer said he was impressed with Furgeson’s ability to stay composed and keep his pitch count down.
“He [the Tigers] off balance all day,” he said. “They didn’t know what was coming. I was impressed that he kept his composure and went the full seven (innings).”
Beer said the key to the game was the Buffs believing in themselves. Ogden came into this game at 2-0 and tied with Stansbury for first place.
“They’ve had some tough games this year,” Beer said. “For once we came out and showed what we’re made of. They get a run, and we came back and got two. We held our composure, and we stayed level. We know we were playing a tough team, but we came out and showed what a bunch of young guys can do. I’m proud of them for doing that.”
The Buffs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning thanks in part to the base-running abilities of senior Ryan Tomac and sophomore Brendan Walker. With both runners on, Tomac took off and successfully stole third base. On the next pitcher windup, Walker took off for second. The Ogden pitcher stepped off the rubber and fired to second base, but the throw was too late, and Walker slid in safely for the steal. This allowed Tomac to tag-up on the next play when sophomore T.J. Bender hit a sacrifice fly.
Tomac made heroics in the next inning on defense. A ball soared into foul territory, and both Tomac and sophomore first baseman Braiden Bell were chasing down the ball. Tomac sprinted into foul territory and called off Bell to make the catch.
Most of the Buffs’ best plays were on the defensive side. A hit on the infield was too late to catch the runner at first during the second inning, but Bell fired it back home in time to swipe a Tiger trying to scratch across a run. In the third inning, a screamer made its way right into the glove of senior third baseman KC Hansen, which led to a 1-2-3 inning.
The win marked the first region win of the season for the Buffs, and it moved them into a tie with Grantsville for fourth place in the region.
“I think it’s going to give us momentum and showing that we can compete with everybody,” Furgeson said. “It brings us together as a team and that we’ll be able to be a lot better as a team in the games to come.”
Tooele followed up the win with a one-run loss to Morgan on Wednesday. The Trojans scored three runs in the fifth inning to win 7-6. Tooele’s next game is at Stansbury on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.