The Valley Buffalos baseball team came home with the State Championship last Saturday after defeating the Panguitch Bobcats 7-5. It was a great ending to an incredible run through the playoffs for the 3rd seeded Buffalos.
The road to the championship began with Valley facing the Manila Mustangs in the first round of the tournament. The game was never in question as the Buffalos built an early lead and never let up. Orrin Wood pitched the complete game shutout as Valley cruised to a lopsided 12-0 victory. 10 different players got base hits in the game.
The quarterfinal game was played on Tuesday, October 3rd, at Dixie Flyer Field in St. George. The Tabiona Tigers were the 2 seed from the northern region and looked pretty tough for the first couple of innings against the Buffalos. In the third inning, however, that all changed as the bats came alive and Valley was able to put up five big runs. Orrin Wood, Danny Goulding, and Gavin Hoyt all had RBI’s in the inning. Valley tacked on one more run as Bret Goulding doubled to right field to finish with a score of 6-0. The six runs were more than enough for the Valley pitchers as Garrett Spencer pitched five scoreless innings with eight strike outs and was then relieved by Wood who completed the shutout.
The win set up a semi-final showdown between the Buffalos and the Piute Thunderbirds. The teams had previously met three times during the season, with the T-birds coming out victorious each time with scores of 2-0, 4-3 in 9 innings, and 4-0. Piute was undefeated and going back to last season, they had a winning streak of over 30 games. The Buffalos were prepared however, and had been looking forward for a chance to knock off the defending champs and get revenge for last year’s loss in the championship game.
It was clear from the top of the first inning that the Buffalos were not intimidated by the undefeated Thunderbirds. They put up one run in the first inning and never looked back. Throughout the day the Buffalo hitters racked up 14 hits and managed to score a run in five different innings. With McClain Roundy dealing on the mound, five runs would prove to be more than enough as he pitched a masterful 6 and 2/3 innings, surrendering only two runs on five hits. Orrin Wood then came on in relief to record the final out. Valley’s defense was tough all day. Especially impressive was a play by catcher Clay Cox and Roundy. Cox chased down a wild pitch and threw to Roundy who was covering home and was able to tag the sliding runner out. The run would have put Piute within a run. Garrett Spencer, Cameron Franklin, Gavin Hoyt, Danny Goulding, and Braxton Heaton all had multiple hits in the game, leading the Buffalos to the 5-2 victory and spoiling Piute’s perfect season.
The Panguitch Bobcats, who were the number 2 seed from the southern region, were the last team standing in the way of the Buffalos on their run to the title. The Buffalos were not about to be denied. The hot bats continued where they left off as Valley built a 7-0 lead after four innings. However, Panguitch battled back and kept things interesting until the very end. They cut the lead to 7-5 and had the bases loaded, but Valley was able to hang on and secure the championship thanks to great defense and team play. Garrett Spencer led the way on the mound for the Buffalos and pitched 6 and a third innings, and was then relieved by Orrin Wood who got the save. Wood, along with Spencer, Casey Reck, and McClain Roundy, each collected multiple hits in the game.
Overall, it was an entire team effort that led the Buffalos to the title. Members of the team include:
Garrett Spencer, Danny Goulding, Braxton Heaton, Cameron Franklin, Orrin Wood, McClain Roundy, Logan Dean, Jack French, Clay Cox, Ricky Bullock, Carter Kenner, Bret Goulding, Casey Reck, Cooper Esplin, Conner Chamberlain, Ruger Reeve, Luke Hepworth, Spencer Cox, and Gavin Hoyt.
Coaches Joseph Sorensen, Lyle Goulding, Marvin Hoyt, Lance Peterson, and Jim Hoyt
Managers Dustin Cox and Marshall Goulding
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