RUPERT – Beating Burley always tastes sweet to the Minico High School baseball team. Beating the Bobcats by run rule?
“It’s definitely a pleasure,” Minico junior Drake Miller said with a smirk.
The Spartans scored at least two runs in all four innings of Friday’s 15-3 rout of the Bobcats. Minico picked up the three-game Great Basin Conference series where it left off – a 5-2 district tournament win that ended its rival’s season last May.
Minico coach Jared Price was a little uneasy in the dugout during the bottom of the first inning. The Spartans loaded the bases with no outs, but a strikeout and a comebacker to pitcher Andrew Ferrin left the bags juiced with two outs.
Up came Blaze Dennis. In a 2-2 count, the second baseman lined a drive to right field. Burley’s Scott Perry got turned around, and his diving attempt was in vain. Two runs scored. Price exhaled.
“When you’ve got the bases loaded with no outs, you need at least one,” Price said. “In a rivalry game like this, momentum is huge. You get a couple runs in the first, a couple runs in the second, momentum stays with you. If you don’t score in the first with the bases loaded, the momentum swings to them, and who knows what happens?”
Minico scored five in the bottom of the second to lead 7-0. Burley cut the deficit to 7-3 with a three-run third inning, but Minico responded with four in the bottom half.
Four more runs in the bottom of the fourth gave Minico – which loaded the bases every inning – a large enough lead to put the 10-run mercy rule into effect. Other than a single hit-by-pitch, Miller shut the door.
Miller only needed 62 pitches to complete a five-inning gem. Minico’s ace allowed one earned run on four hits and a walk, and he struck out six.
“He didn’t have his offspeed stuff as well as I’ve seen in the past, but he threw a great ballgame, threw a lot of strikes, challenged up,” Price said.
Miller also went 3-for-4 from the plate. His teammate Nicky Caldera (3-for-3) reached base four times and tagged a double. Mckay Chandler (2-for-2, double) and Carson Schow (0-for-1, stolen base) each reached base three times, while Alan Ambriz (1-for-3, stolen base) got on base twice.
Minico began the season 1-2 with a pair of losses to Bonneville, including a 19-2 rout in the second game.
The Spartans responded four days later with a 9-8 walkoff win over perennial District 5-6 power Highland. Friday’s win kept the trend in a positive direction.
“We came out lackadaisical (against Bonneville),” Miller said. “We just didn’t do that today. We had been at practice all week with a lot of energy, just being us, playing the game, having fun.”
Minico 15, Burley 3 (Five Innings)
Burley 0 0 3 0 0 – 3 4 2
Minico 2 5 4 4 X – 15 12 2
Burley: Pitching – Andrew Ferrin (L) 2 IP, 8 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 4 BB, 2 K; Jackson Hill 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K.
Leading hitters – Luke Stowers 1-1, BB, HBP, R; Easton Watterson 1-3, RBI; Carson Noble 1-2, R; Coty Hackett 1-2.
Minico: Pitching – Drake Miller (W) 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6K.
Leading hitters – Nicky Caldera 3-3, 2B, HBP, 3 RBI, 4 R; Miller 3-4, 2 RBI, 2 R; Mckay Chandler 2-2, 2B, HBP, 2 RBI; Alan Ambriz 1-3, BB, SB, 4 RBI, 2 R; Carson Schow 0-1, 2 BB, HBP, SB, 2 R.