The Moab Cubs of the Pony League went 6-0 at the state tournament in Lehi this week, winning the championship Thursday, when Josh Jones hit a walk-off home run to give the Cubs a 9-8 victory over the Spanish Fork Angels.
The Cubs, who had to win their final two season games to qualify for the tournament, fell behind 4-0 early in the game before clawing their way back, coach Scott Horton said. They finally claimed their first lead on a safety squeeze bunt by Connor Denny. In the Angels’ next at-bat, catcher Brayden Schultz caught a high throw and tagged the possible go-ahead run out at the plate, preserving the tie. A runner tried to steal third on the next at-bat, but Schultz threw him out, ending the inning and setting the stage for the walk-off victory.
This was the Cubs’ only close game of the tournament after mercy-rule wins in four of their first five games, Horton said. The opening game of the tournament was called early because of rain with the Cubs ahead 11-2 in the fourth inning.
“We didn’t hit very well all season in Moab, but everyone hit well at state,” Horton said.
“They’re all just great kids,” Horton said of his 7th-and-8th-grade players. “They worked really hard. A lot of them play accelerated baseball, too, so they’re constantly going to practice and playing in games. It’s a lot of hard work for them.”
Horton wants to thank his coaches and others who helped him with the team throughout the season, especially Jared Meador for all the time he puts in improving the young players’ baseball skills.
“He works so hard helping these kids get better at baseball,” Horton said of Meador, who coaches youth teams and teaches fourth grade along with being the high school Red Devils’ head coach. “We’re gonna win some state titles in high school baseball in the near future.”
Two teams from the Pinto League also represented Moab in state tournaments as the Padres took second place in the Salem tournament and the Red Sox went 1-2 in the Springville tournament.
Padres coach Ken Williams said his team of predominantly 5th-graders in a 5th-and-6th-grade league, overachieved in the tournament after running the table in the local league after a 1-3 start, capped by a 4-0 upset victory over Eric Haycock’s Red Sox in a winner-goes-to-state game to qualify. A grand slam by Luke Williams accounted for all the scoring in the game.
“We finished second in our local league after Luke Williams hit a grand slam to send us to state,” Ken Williams said. “We got the first seed in our bracket coming out of pool play, then just ran out of pitching.”
The Padres were 5-0 in the tournament after winning all three of their games in pool play and defeating the Lehi Dodgers in the quarterfinals and the Salem Marlins in the semifinals. The Padres ending up losing 7-4 in the championship game against the Pleasant Grove Cubs.
“The way they played, they were hot,” said Anthony Alvey, whose son Morgan played for the Padres. “The guys from the bigger towns didn’t expect us to get out of pool play and we took second… Amazing.”
Alvey commended the Padres on how well-coached they were.
“The way the coaches did it was awesome,” he said. “They kept it calm and cool while other coaches were yelling and screaming at umpires. They did a great job.”
The Red Sox beat Eagle Mountain for their lone victory in the Springville tournament, and although his team didn’t make it out of pool play, coach Austin Stubblefield said his team did a heck of a job, highlighted by the pitching of Brycen Haycock and the shortstop play of Cain Scherer.