ST. GEORGE — Two baseball teams from Region 9 won their first local series of the season and are off to hot starts.

Crimson Cliffs swept Hurricane and Pine View beat Cedar twice this week, putting both at the top of the region standings at 2-0 early in the season.

Dixie and Desert Hills split their two ball games and are 1-1 while Snow Canyon (5-1 overall) has yet to play a Region 9 game.

Teams will play a variety of non-region contests until the next round of local series, which will be played March 19-20.

Following is a glance at the first Region 9 baseball games of the season.

Dixie 9, Desert Hills 0; Desert Hills 6, Dixie 2

Desert Hills’ Beau Wall is safe at third against Dixie in a Region 9 baseball game, St. George, Utah, March 14, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

The Flyers and the Thunder split their series with both teams winning at home.

Dixie pounded out 14 hits on Tuesday and scored runs in four of six innings to post the nine-run runaway.

Braxton Yates earned the win on the pitching mound for Dixie and struck out four batters. Crew Christensen struck out one for Desert Hills and was saddled with the loss.

Ridge Erickson tripled and drove in three Flyers runs while five other Dixie batters (Yates, Carter Turley, Max Orton, Logan Leavitt, Cooper Bartholomew) recorded a solo RBI for the winners.

Desert Hills flipped the script Wednesday night, coming from behind to beat Dixie by four.

Erickson homered and Bartholomew drove in a run as Dixie (5-2 overall, 1-1 Region 9) jumped ahead 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning.

Those were the only two hits that Desert Hills starting pitcher Jaxton Tolman allowed. The freshman right-hander paved the way for Andrew Wilson, who threw five strikeouts and did not allow a hit on his way to earning the win.

Tolman started his first career Region 9 game.

“He was impressive,” Desert Hills coach Kevin Cave told St. George News after the game. “And then Andrew Wilson threw a three-inning close, not necessarily what we expect from him, but he wanted the ball and he rolled.”

The pitching performance was just what the Thunder needed after surrendering 14 hits the night before.

Desert Hills’ freshman Jaxton Tolman warms up against Dixie in a Region 9 baseball game, St. George, Utah, March 14, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“It was great to see our pitchers come out and keep their offense at bay because they (Dixie) smoked the ball last night,” Cave said.

Offensively the Thunder secured the game with two runs in the fifth and then three more insurance runs in the sixth.

Christensen plated an RBI in the win. Wilson drove in two runs and Harmon Skeen also had an RBI for Desert Hills.

Beau Wall hit a triple and Kobe Goodman singled for the Thunder, which hit seven knocks in the victory.

“Our guys were resilient enough to keep at it,” Cave said, noting that Dixie starter Jake Andreas did a masterful job of getting out of some early jams. “Andrew Wilson came through with the big hit to give us the lead.” 

Desert Hills improved to 4-2 overall to go along with its 1-1 Region 9 mark.

“It’s a little too early for momentum. Every region series is going to be like this,” Cave said. “Great series. These guys (Dixie) killed the ball last night, then we got them back at our place. That’s how they’re all going to be, just tough series all the way through region.”

Crimson Cliffs 6, Hurricane 1; Crimson Cliffs 11, Hurricane 0

The defending 4A state champions are off to a 6-1 start and are 2-0 in Region 9 after sweeping the Tigers.

In Washington Fields on Tuesday, Staton Kranendonk threw three strikeouts en route to picking up the win on the mound. 

The Mustangs plated two runs in the third inning and four in the fifth to win the well-pitched contest, which featured five hits for Crimson and three for Hurricane. 

McKay Wright drove in three runs and Trey Evans had a solo RBI for the winners.

Manny Santos hit a double for Hurricane and Luke Hirschi recorded the Tigers one RBI.

In Hurricane on Wednesday, Crimson jumped all over the Tigers with three runs in the first inning, four in the second, three more in the third and a single tally in the fifth. 

The Mustangs cranked out 12 hits in the game while the Tigers (5-3, 0-2) recorded three hits against Crimson starter Jarvis Osborn, who fanned eight on the way to his win.

Hurricane hurt its own cause with five fielding errors.

Wright led the way at the plate again for the Mustangs with three RBI. Chachi Pincock, Jason McArthur and Steele Barben drove in two runs apiece.

Evans tripled with an RBI and Kyler Skinner had the other RBI for Crimson.

Pine View 10, Cedar 7; Pine View 12, Cedar 1

The Pine View Panthers (5-2, 2-0) opened Region 9 play with a sweep of the Cedar Reds on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Tuesday night’s contest, the Panthers scored in each of the first three innings to build an early 4-0 lead. Cedar got on the board with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, with Koden Lunt belting a double to knock in the Reds first run.

Pine View answered with a six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by five singles, two walks and two errors.

Cedar (2-4, 0-2) staged a rally of its own in the top of the sixth, adding five runs on just two singles while capitalizing on a pair of walks and two errors.

That 10-7 margin proved to be the final score, as reliever Kyson Milne kept the Reds from scoring in the seventh, striking out the final two batters.

Milne also had three hits and one RBI for Pine View, while Cash Sisneros added two singles that drove in two runs apiece.

Pine View’s starting pitcher Nash Schroeder picked up the win on the mound, allowing two runs on three hits in five innings of work, while striking out eight and walking none.

Although Wednesday afternoon’s game was originally scheduled to be played in Cedar City, it was switched to Pine View’s field that morning due to snowy weather in Iron County.

In that contest, Pine View broke open a tight game with a five-run rally in the fourth inning that gave the Panthers a 7-1 lead. 

Sophomore pitcher Tristen Sylvester threw the first four innings and ended up with the win on the mound. He allowed one run on three hits while walking three and striking out six. Sisneros then threw two solid innings of hitless relief.

Pine View added five more runs in the top of the sixth to extend the lead to 12-1. All nine Panthers in the lineup finished with at least one hit, with outfielders Andrew Shakespeare and Porter Campbell each hitting two.

Fresh off the back-to-back wins, Pine View’s day didn’t stop there as the Panthers faced Viewmont a few hours later on Wednesday night.

The Panthers lost to the Vikings 19-2 in what was the first of a string of non-region contests Pine View will be hosting over the remainder of the week. The Panthers play Highland on Thursday, Idaho Falls on Friday and both Murray and Carbon on Saturday.

Next week, the Panthers have a bye from Region 9 action and are scheduled to host Canyon View on March 22 and Hillcrest the following evening.

Pine View’s next Region 9 contest isn’t until March 26, when they host Snow Canyon.

– written by Jeff Richards

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