Jason Johnson safe at second base against Tintic.
Jason Johnson swings big for Green River.
Sarah Swalberg slides into second base.
The Green River baseball team visited Wasatch Academy on Aug. 29, for their first chance to see how they would fair against a region opponent. The team played a double header and came away with mixed feelings. The Pirates won both games (17-3; 13-12) but may have lost a player for the rest of the season due to an injury.
The Pirates played the first game with tough defense and great offense. The bats were singing early and the team coasted to an easy first win. The challenge came in the second game of the double header.
Wasatch Academy changed uniforms and their attitude and came out swinging. The first two batters got on base and the lead runner made a play towards third. Keith Clark protected the bag with the ball in tow as the runner slid for the bag. A collision occurred and Keith took it hard to his right knee. After telling his team 'it don't matter' (as he always does), this time it did matter and he was escorted off the field and to the local hospital to see how bad it was.
In Keith's absence the team played on with eight players (they have a real thin bench) and were able to capture one run in the third and three in the fourth. Wasatch Academy scored three in the fourth inning making the score 12-4, favor Wasatch Academy. The battered and bruised Pirates dug deep and began an improbable comeback.
The comeback actually began in the top of the fourth inning when Elias Polito hit a deep fly to right field bringing in two runs while 'E' made his way to second.
An overthrow to the cut- off man gave way for 'E' to round third on his way to safety at home.
In the top of the fifth inning, the first batter was Sarah Swalberg who took one for the team as she twisted to hopefully have the inside pitch miss her, but it caught her in the back. The bats were hot and the pitching was not as players took hits for the team. The Pirates made it through the batting order and Sarah was up again and was the tying run at bat. A change in pitchers drew another hit to Sarah and she's now on base. A bobbled ground ball at third and a base hit by Brennan Bigelow, allowed for the go ahead run to be safe at first. A passed ball at home made way for the runners at second and first to advance into scoring position.
Jason Johnson was up to bat with two outs when he hit a deep fly ball into the gap in right center. The base runners shifted into overdrive and motored their way to home scoring the go ahead run. Jason was waved to round third hard and he was on his way to pad the score with another run when the catcher caught the ball and put his body between him and Jason. Final out of the top half of the final inning.
Wasatch Academy needed just one run to tie and another one to win. Excellent pitching gave Green River out number one. A bold base runner figured to steal second base, when the catcher, Justin Johnson made a perfect throw to Elias who covered second base for the second out. No score and one batter to go. Brennan Bigelow gave three inside pitches called for balls. The batter watched the '3-0' pitch get called for a strike. The three-one pitch was also called for a strike. Now the batter faced a determined Pirate pitcher with a full count and a battered team playing with an injured player sitting in the dug out watching the excitement with a brace on his knee. The drama was thick as molasses and the '3-2' pitch was swung at and missed. The small crowd was electrified and the team beamed with satisfaction. Green River made an improbable comeback to take both games.
On Friday, Sept. 5, the Tintic Miners ventured to the home of the Green River Pirates in a three way tie for first in region 18 of 1A baseball; they returned home in third place with two fresh losses.
The first game was a pitchers battle with Brennan Bigelow taking honors as the winning pitcher and Bowdy Steele on the losing end. Together the two pitchers combined for 25 strikeouts but it was Brennan Bigelow's RBI double in the bottom of the seventh that opened the way for Justin Johnson to cross home plate for the winning run.
The second game saw a pitching change for both teams and Green River who couldn't manage to get the bat wrapped around Bowdy Steele's curve ball and slider were able to connect big time on what Tintic's new man on the mound was throwing across the plate. Green River was able to score 13 runs on 14 hits with three errors to Tintic's three runs on four hits and one error.
For the moment, Green River is in first place in Region 18 after two great wins and being able to recruit a player to step in for the injured Keith Clark who got the tough news that his ACL needs some attention from a skilled surgeon after last weeks injury suffered at Wasatch Academy.