Utes win home opener

by Bruce Tippets

Five different Uintah High School pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in an 18-0 win over Summit Academy in March 8 in Vernal.

The game was stopped after five innings because of the 10-run rule.

“We played an opponent that was overmatched, but what I liked is that our players kept their focus,” Uintah coach Justin DeCol said. “They didn’t play at a different level. They played at their level. I was really proud of that.”

No fans were allowed to watch the season opener because the spectator area was covered in snow.

“It was very important to get a game in,” said DeCol. “Our maintenance guy Reed Merrick put in a lot of time on the baseball field to make this game happen. He just worked and worked so we could play. We were lucky that the community was willing to buy this kind of facility for the kids that can be plowed.”

Uintah’s Derrick Hardy, Kaedyn Sheffield, Brennen Kunkel, Dace Pope and Jaron Dansie all saw time on the mound.

“Our pitchers were good,” DeCol said. “We wanted to change pitchers every inning. We wanted to give everybody an opportunity and they looked solid.”

DeCol said his goal for the rest of the season is to have his starting pitchers go four or five innings.

“We are all young,” he added. “Dreyson Sutton is our most experienced pitcher and we didn’t even use him. Not many of them had much varsity experience last year.”

The Utes jumped on South Summit with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Uintah kept things going with seven runs in the second and eight more in the third.

Sheffield and Colton led the way with two hits apiece.

“We have worked really hard in practice,” DeCol said. “Our administration has made sure all the teams have had practice time in the indoor arena.”

Uintah opened a tournament in St. George with a 6-3 victory over Syracuse March 10.

Syracuse got a runner across home plate in the bottom of the first and once more in the second for a 2-0 edge.

Uintah exploded for six runs in the top of the third to take the lead at 6-2. Syracuse scored once in the third but couldn’t score any more in the last three innings.

Sheffield went six innings to register the win. He allowed seven hits and had five strikeouts.

Uintah’s Ryan Mansfield paced the team with two hits. Colton, Sutton and Kunkel had one hit apiece.

The Utes dropped a 21-1 decision to Snow Canyon right after the game with Syracuse.

“There are very good teams in the St. George tournament,” said DeCol. “We just like to go and play at a high level.”

Uintah’s next home game is slated against Westlake March 24.