ST. GEORGE — The new Mustangs looked much like the old as the Crimson Cliffs baseball team opened its home season with a resounding victory Thursday night.

Junior pitcher Staton Kranendonk threw seven strikeouts and six different Crimson batters had at least one run driven in as the Mustangs beat Westlake 16-3.

“He’s a competitor. He’s going to go out and throw some strikes,” Crimson head coach Justin Abbott told St. George News.

Abbott noted that Kranendonk had a bit of a cushion to work with after the Mustangs scored seven runs in the first inning.

Crimson Cliffs senior Steele Barben tags up before scoring in a game against Westlake, Washington, Utah, March 8, 2024 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

“I told him, ‘Go out there and throw like you have a lead, man,’” Abbott said. “We backed him up and he made some good pitches.”

The right-hander K’d two of the three Thunder batters he faced in the top of the second.

“He got us back in the dugout after we just scored seven runs,” Abbott said. “That was huge. For us, getting our offense back in the dugout is going to be a key, and he did a really good job with that.”

Offensively, the Mustang batters were effective from each spot in the lineup. McKay Wright drove in two runs. Ty West had a bases-clearing triple.

Trey Evans doubled and drove in two. Kyler Skinner and Steele Barben had 3 RBI apiece. Chachi Pincock had a solo RBI.

After the game coaches talked about quality at-bats. They want the players to always put the ball in play when they have two strikes.

“We’ve been harping on it,” Abbott said. “We talked about it last year, and those guys did a really good job of it. And we’re just going to continue that trend.”

“If we can win that quality at-bat battle we’re going to be in a pretty good spot,” he added. “Put pressure on the defense. I like what we did offensively tonight.”

Crimson Cliffs (1-1) has two home games on the schedule Friday. They face Timpanogos at 3:30 p.m. then Herriman at 6 p.m.

Dixie 5, Springville 4

The Flyers fought through rain and wind and beat the Red Devils with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Dixie’s James Lea hits against Springville in a non-region baseball game, St. George, Utah, March 8, 2024 | Photo by Jacqui Knighton, St. George News

Dixie (1-0) won its season-opener in dramatic fashion. The visitors manufactured single runs in the first and second innings.

But then Dixie took the lead in the bottom of the third, plating three for a 3-2 lead.

Springville answered back with tallies in the top of the fifth, retaking the lead 4-3.

The home team tied the score in the bottom of the sixth and then brought home the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh.

Dixie finished with 11 hits while Springville batters had five knocks. The Flyers defense committed one error while the Red Devils had three costly miscues.

Cooper Bartholomew recorded six strikeouts for the Flyers and got the pitching win after relieving starter Braxton Yates.

Collecting solo RBIs for Dixie were Yates and James Lea. Trace Franco drove in two for the winners.

Dixie stays at home Friday for a 7 p.m. game against Bear River.

Desert Hills 7, Park City 0

A Thunder tandem on the mound held the Miners to one hit as Desert Hills started the season off with a bang.

Junior Crew Christensen and sophomore Hoyt Atkin hurled the gem. Christensen threw the first four innings of hitless ball, walking three and striking out eight. He picked up the win.

Atkin came on for the last three innings and the save. He yielded one hit, walked one and struck out four Miners.

Haigen Reed smacked three hits to pace the Thunder offense. He tripled and had one RBI.

Cooper Cluff, Stoakli Tate and Harmon Skeen recorded two hits apiece for the Thunder in the victory.

Desert Hills (1-0) plated a run in the third to jump ahead, then scored two in the fourth and three in the fifth inning. One more run in the bottom of the sixth ensured the win for the home team.

On Friday, the Thunder is scheduled for a 9 p.m. home game against Cyprus.

Hurricane 8, Logan 0

The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the season after shutting out the Grizzlies in Hurricane.

No statistics were available from the game. Hurricane hosts Region 11 power Sky View Friday night at 8:30 p.m.

Photo Gallery

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.