The Evanston Legion AA team made the long trek to southern Utah over the weekend, posting a 2-3 record against some stiff competition at the Cedar Summer Showdown in Cedar City.
With five games in two days, the Boys of Post 41 hit the ground running Friday morning, routing the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs 15-5 in the tournament opener. A late-inning rally came up short in a 10-7 loss to the Parowan Rams in game two that same day, but the Outlaws rebounded with a 9-2 win over Canyon View Saturday morning. The Outlaws closed out the tournament with a pair of games against the Cedar Reds, dropping the first game 6-4, then losing in the tournament title game 10-6.
“We played well,” said Outlaws manager Chad Thompson. “The games we lost, it seemed like our first inning was our bugaboo. Then we tried to crawl out, and just couldn’t get all the way out of the hole. Going into the [Utah] high school season, Parowan was ranked, as was Cedar City. We expected to have some stiff competition, and that’s what we had.”
The Outlaws will have a couple of days to regroup before they hit the road again Wednesday for a pair of conference games in Rock Springs. Asked what the team will work on between now and then, Thompson said his club will concentrate on the fundamentals.
“One thing I took away from the weekend is I thought our baserunning was very lax,” he said. “We left a few runners on, and got thrown out in some situations we shouldn’t have been in. So we need to get back to working on better communication.”
Crimson Cliffs 5
Outlaws shortstop Jagger Mitchell came into Friday’s morning contest against Crimson Cliffs hitting a gaudy .387 for the season, with 16 extra-base hits and the team’s only home run. With two swings of the bat, the soon-to-be senior at EHS added to both categories, smacking a two-run double in the opening frame and blasting a grand slam in the second to lead the Outlaws to a 15-5 win. Mitchell drove in a game-high six runs in the contest.
“Jagger played really well at the plate — he was swinging the bat well,” Thompson said. “Defensively, we played well, so it was an all-around good game.”
Ryan Fisher made a successful return to the mound for the Outlaws, giving up one run on one hit in an inning and a third of work, striking out one. Jordan Schneider picked up the win in relief, giving up two runs on one hit (one earned) and striking out two. Hank Allred and Casey Periman also appeared in relief for the Outlaws.
“Everyone was on a 30-pitch count, because we knew we’d need them the next day,” Thompson explained. “Ryan did really well — all of them pitched well, actually. We’re deep at the pitching position, so over the course of the weekend, a guy may not get the amount of time on the mound as we would like, so to get Ryam back up and throwing, that’s a good thing.”
Evanston had their bats going early against the Mustangs, pounding out 12 hits in the contest. Mitchell finished 2-for-3 with a double and a grand slam and 6 RBIs; Brenden Thompson was also 2-for-3, with a double and 3 RBIs. Ryan Fisher helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, while Reid Gross and Gus Allred had two hits apiece in the contest, including a double by Allred. Conner Peterson and Jordan Schneider rounded out the hitting with a hit each; Peterson crossed the plate three times.
The Outlaws swiped six bases in the game, led by two from Gus Allred; Fisher, Mitchell, Gross and Clayton Moyles each had one.
Parowan 10, Outlaws 7
In game two, the Outlaws found themselves in a hole early, spotting Parowan two runs in the first and five runs in the third.
Down 10-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Evanston’s bats finally came alive, led by an RBI double by Brenden Thompson and RBI singles from Casey Periman, Reid Gross, Ryan Fisher and Jagger Mitchell that cut the lead to 10-7. The Outlaws could get no closer, however, and the Rams held on for the 10-7 win.
“Same thing — we give up one big inning, and then try to fight out of the hole,” Thompson said. “We needed about another inning and a half to complete that comeback. But we gave up seven runs in an inning, and you just can’t do that.”
Casey Periman got the start on the bump for the Outlaws and took the loss, giving up seven runs on five hits (all earned), striking out two.
Brenden Thompson came on in relief, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out one in two and a third innings of work.
Evanston had nine hits in the contest, including two each by Fisher and Periman; both drove in a run. Thompson, Reid Gross and Mitchell each had a hit and an RBI; Clayton Moyles and Kendell Cummings rounded out the hitting with one apiece, including a double by Moyles.
Canyon View 2
Saturday’s early game against Canyon View again found the Outlaws in a 2-0 hole after one inning, though the Falcons’ lead was brief — Evanston plated runs in every inning that followed, including two runs in the second and fourth, and three in the sixth to cruise to a 9-2 win.
“We came out and played well — our defense wasn’t sharp in the first inning, and it cost us a couple of runs,” Thompson said. “But we sharpened everything up, and were able to hold them to those two runs. If you can give up just two runs in a game, you should win most of those.”
Batting out of the second spot, Conner Peterson had his best outing of the season for the Outlaws, going 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and 3 RBIs.
Jagger Mitchell started on the bump and earned his first win of the season, giving up two unearned runs on two hits and striking out seven in five and a third innings. Reid Gross pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief, giving up no runs on one hit.
The Outlaws pounded out 10 hits — Clayton Moyles (2-for-2, 2 RBIs, two stolen bases) and Gross (2-for-3 with an RBI) had multiple hits, while Gus Allred (RBI), Brenden Thompson and Kendell Cummings had a hit apiece, including an RBI double by Cummings.
Cedar City 6, Outlaws 4
Taking on the host team for a shot at making it to the championship game, the Outlaws again found themselves on the wrong side of a big inning, spotting the Reds a 4-0 lead in the first.
An RBI single by Reid Gross in the top of the second cut the Reds’ lead to 4-1, though the home team quickly responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame to make it 5-1.
The Outlaws plated a run in the third and two in the fourth — highlighted by an RBI double by Gus Allred and singles by Brenden Thompson, Casey Periman and Conner Peterson — to pull within a run at 5-4. The Reds scored an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth, however, and held on for the 6-4 win.
“That was a close one — same thing, we gave up four runs in one inning,” Thompson said. “We tried battling back, and just couldn’t get all the way there.”
Evanston had another solid showing at the plate with 11 hits in the contest — Gus Allred led the way, going 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBIs.
Conner Peterson had his second straight game with three hits, while Thompson (2-for-3) and Periman (2-for-4) also had multi-hit games. Gross (RBI) and Moyles had a hit apiece.
Allred started on the bump for Evanston, giving up five runs on five hits (two earned) and striking out four in three innings of work. Moyles pitched three innings in relief, giving up one run on two hits, and striking out three.
Cedar City 10, Outlaws 6
With a 2-2 record on the weekend, the Outlaws earned a spot in the tournament’s championship game, squaring off with Cedar City for the second time in as many games.
“There was a scenario where we could get into the championship game, and the scenario worked out for us,” Thompson said. “We ended up giving up the least amount of runs between the three teams tied at 2-2, so that put us into that game.”
The Outlaws drew first blood in the rematch with a run in the top of the first, though the lead was short-lived — the Reds answered with seven runs in the bottom of the frame to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Cedar City scored twice more in the second and once in the fourth to push their lead to 10-1.
Evanston battled back with a pair of runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth, highlighted by an RBI single by Clayton Moyles and an RBI double by Gus Allred.
The Outlaws plated one more run in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to 10-6, but could get no closer, as the Reds held on for the win and the championship.
“Unfortunately, it was more of the same,” Thompson said. “We gave up seven runs in the first, and couldn’t battle back far enough in that one, either. Looking back over the weekend, if we don’t give up all of those big innings, we probably win all our games. That’s frustrating for us as coaches, and for the players.”
Ryan Fisher threw five innings in the loss, giving up 10 runs on nine hits (nine earned), and striking out three. Derek MacDonald pitched an inning of no-hit ball in relief.
The Outlaws scattered seven hits over seven innings, led by a 2-for-3, RBI performance from Allred; Fisher also had two hits in the contest. Casey Periman and Reid Gross both doubled for their only hits, while Moyles finished with an RBI single.