High school baseball: Sophomore Parx Bartholomew pitches Gunnison to 2A title

KEARNS — As it turns out, Gunnison didn’t just have a dominant 1-2 punch on the mound this season with Drew Hill and Jaden Mayne, it had a 1-2-3 punch.

Unheralded sophomore left-handed Parx Bartholomew took the mound in the 2A championship at Kearns on Saturday and had a sparkling performance, slowing Grand’s potent lineup throughout to lead the Bulldogs to the 9-4 victory and their first state title since 2012.

“He’s kind of a hidden factor, I don’t think a lot of people knew about him. We had him ready to go. Most people thought we only had a 1-2 punch, but that sophomore stepped up big time and won a state championship,” said Gunnison coach Jared Anderson.

Bartholomew struck out eight over 5 2/3 innings and only allowed five hits before giving way to senior Gage Mogle with a 9-3 lead.

Grand strung a couple of singles together in the top of the seventh and loaded the bases on Mogle, but he got the last batter to pop out to first baseman Ty Hill in foul territory. The wind nearly blew the ball away from Hill, but he reached behind him to narrowly secure the final out.

“It felt like it was going to go forever, and I lost it in the sun for a second and all of sudden it was right there, it was one of the greatest moments of my life. I’ll never forget it. It was unreal,” said Hill.

Hill was terrific at the plate for the Bulldogs going 3 for 4 with two RBI and a double. He was one five Gunnison batters who had multiple hits on Saturday.

Gunnison’s bats were quite in its first win at Kearns on Thursday, and Anderson joked after that his players were saving them for later.

“Our bats came alive today,” he said.

Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning, Bartholomew singled home Drew Hill to give Gunnison the 2-1 lead and four batters later Ty Hill doubled in a pair for the 4-1 cushion.

Gunnison blew the game wide open in the fourth after Braxon Sylvester, Parker Stewart and Drew Hill led off the inning with three straight walks. Bartholomew singled home another run to make it a 5-1 game, and after another runner scored on a fielder’s choice Mogle stretched the lead to 9-1 on a two-run double.

Just as Grand’s pitcher struggled to find the strike zone in the fourth, Bartholomew couldn’t find it in the fifth either. He walked four batters, including two with the bases loaded as Grand chipped away at the deficit-cutting the lead to 9-3.

“I just figured out what I was going with mechanics and I just fixed them and started throwing strikes,” said Bartholomew, who struck out two batters in the sixth before giving way to Mogle.

He headed to the dugout as Gunnison’s crowd gave him a standing ovation, support Anderson said made a big difference.

“I think I had half of Gunnison here. We filled the stands,” said Anderson.

All that support initially had Bartholomew feeling a bit nervous. Saturday morning Grand had beat Kanab 9-5 to advance to the championship game, and the sophomore knew the Red Devils would try and carry that momentum into the championship.

“He was nervous, and of course he would be, but I told him to get that first out. I told him I’ve been there before, I’ve pitched in this game before. I told him after that first out, it doesn’t mean everything is going sail smoothly, but you can kind of take a breather and settled in,” said Anderson.

Grand’s first batter ground the ball straight back to Bartholomew, who rode that momentum all the way to a state title.

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High school baseball: Lone Peak clinches Region 4 title with 7-4 win over Pleasant Grove

The Lone Peak Knights ran off the field as Region 4 champs on Tuesday after defeating Pleasant Grove 7-4.

Lone Peak head coach Matt Bezzant said, “Our bats were producing the hits we needed, our defense stepped up big, Barney (Payton, starting pitcher) did a great job on the mound and my guys played well.”

“We just couldn’t get it going today,” Pleasant Grove coach Darrin Henry said. “We had such an emotional game yesterday, I was afraid that we may not be prepared for our game today, and I’m afraid we came out a little flat.”

The Knights built a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning. With the bottom of Pleasant Grove’s batting order coming to the plate, the fans kind of lost focus on the game. Viking sophomore Ty Barker came to the plate and put the second pitch into the outfield, just the fifth hit of the game for the Vikings. Senior Ethan Coombs put his third pitch into the outfield and the noise got everyone’s attention. Senior Porter Atwood advanced the two baserunners but Atwood was thrown out at first. With Barker and Coombs at second and third, junior Connor Johnson stepped up and hit a screaming drive to the left field fence to score Barker and Coombs.

Then senior Ty Lewis drove one into the hole in left center for what looked like a sure double but Lone Peak’s great senior outfielder Seth Corry made a fantastic diving catch for the second out of the inning. Had Corry not made the catch, the whole game may have gone the other direction. That catch froze Johnson at first. Now with two outs, it appeared the lights were going out on the Vikings and the Knights were back in charge.

But Viking sophomore Brock Watkins came up to bat, and with a 3-2 count, sent the next pitch to the fence with a stand up double, scoring Lewis from first base.

With Watkins on second, senior Kaino Pula hit a single to right field and Watkins scored from second base to make it a three-run game.

One of the things coach Henry has been able to do is remind his players that they all have talent and ability. “Do your best and let the talent shine through and good things will happen,” Henry tells them.

Unfortunately, the rally ended after Logan Hooley hit a pop up to Lone Peak’s second baseman. Final score: 7-4, Lone Peak.

There is still one more game in this series to be played, Wednesday at Lone Peak. Corry is scheduled to pitch. Coach Bezzant wants to finish strong in preparation for the state playoffs next week. Lone Peak will go into the playoffs as the first seed in Region 4 and will play the first game at home. The Vikings appear to be headed to the playoffs as the third seed in Region 4.

For the game, Pleasant Grove had four runs on nine hits and one error. With the loss, the Vikings have a 12-5 region record. Lone Peak had seven runs on 10 hits and no errors. The Knights have a 15-2 region record.

Wednesday afternoon’s Game 3 is at 3:30 pm.

Kent Allen lives in Pleasant Grove and reports on Pleasant Grove High School varsity sports for Deseret Connect.

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