ST. GEORGE - By Jarett Theurer - March 9, 2020
As spring approaches, the Bear River Bear’s baseball team kicked off their season traveling to St. George for the annual Dixie Classic tournament March 5-7, 2020.
The Bears played four games across the three-day span making them the first games of their 2020 season.
Bear River’s head baseball coach Donald Hawes gave some insight on what the expectations are going into the year.
“Going into the tournament we had a lot of unknowns. We graduated 10 seniors last year and returned two players that had significant varsity playing time,” Hawes said.
“Early in the season there is a lot of competition for playing time and this year a little more with eight open slots and losing two of the three starters from our pitching rotations. Our expectation going into the weekend was to find out who was going to fill those spots,” he added.
The tournament started Thursday night, March 5, under the lights as the Bears battled the Payson Lions. The Bears fell behind four runs after two innings but fought hard in a back and forth shootout, eventually falling to Payson 7-6.
Junior Easton Lish got the call as starting pitcher for the Bears, displaying an impressive first game start allowing only four runs across five innings of work. Tanner Orton led the way at the plate going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Story continues below...
On Friday afternoon, March 6, the Bears faced the Cedar City Redmen in another close game.
After scoring runs in the first two innings, the Bears carried a lead going into the fifth inning where the Redmen found their stride scoring two runs in the fifth inning and three in the seventh inning.
Senior Ashton Rhodes went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Bear River was defeated by Cedar City with a final score of 6-2.
The tournament continued with the Bears facing their cross-county rivals, the Box Elder Bees.
Box Elder’s Logan Holgate turned in an impressive start on the mound for the Bees throwing six full innings, allowing three hits, one earned run, and striking out 15.
Bear River played stellar defense allowing zero errors, but it would not be enough to stop the Bees offense as Box Elder won 5-1. Story continues below...
Saturday afternoon concluded with Bear River playing Bonneville High School.
The Bear’s offense came to life scoring ten runs across five innings of play winning 10-0. Six Bear players recorded RBIs, and sophomore second basemen Hunter Smoot led the way in scoring, turning in three runs going 2-for-2 at the plate with one RBI.
Both Ashton Harrow and Hunter Smoot were selected for the All-Tournament team.
Hawes recapped the tournament by saying, “We were competitive in every game. We had chances to win all three games that we didn’t win, going into the final two innings. By the end of the weekend, the team started to figure each other out and the commitment to each other that it takes to be a successful ball club.”
“Moving forward into this week our focus is going to be to work the process. Keep believing in our system and execute pitches, have timely hitting and make plays,” Hawes added.
With the conclusion of the Bears’ first tournament of the season, the Bear River baseball team will return home to Bears Field to face Westlake High on Thursday, March 12, at 3:30 pm.