Bingham baseball hopes to reload, not rebuild after last year's state championship
Apr 15, 2019 03:17PM
● By Josh McFadden
The Bingham Miner baseball team hopes to return to where it was last season: as state champs, seen here hoisting last year’s trophy. (File photo courtesy Kerry Stevens)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
With only two returning starters from last season’s squad, there will be a whole lot of new faces and contributors on the Bingham baseball team.
But don’t expect the Miners to fall way down in the standings.
The defending Class 6A champions have built a program and culture of success where coaches and players expect to perform well and win. After all, this isn’t the first time head coach Joey Sato has had to deal with personnel losses. Still, the Miners continue to be among the top teams in the state, and there’s little reason to believe that will change this season, despite significant departures.
Of course, it won’t be easy replacing 13 key figures from the 2018 team. Senior Peyton Jones and junior Joey Dixon will headline the Miners this season as the only players with major varsity experience. Both will see time on the mound as pitchers as well as in the field. When he’s not pitching, Jones will play in the outfield. Meanwhile, Dixon will start at shortstop when it’s not his turn to pitch.
The Miners will sorely need the duo’s talents.
Both players won four games as pitchers last season. They were also good at the plate and helped Bingham score nearly seven runs per game.
Beyond Jones and Dixon, the Miners have a young club with nine freshmen and 10 sophomores. The Bingham roster also lists nine seniors and nine juniors. As the season was getting underway, Sato was still sorting out how all these players will fit in the program as either varsity or junior varsity members.
Bingham won the 6A crown a year ago after posting a 21-10 overall record. The Miners were 10-2 in Region 4, capturing the league championship as well. Five of those losses came in the National Classic tournament against out-of-state opponents. Another loss came at the hands of Riverton in the double-elimination state tournament.
But the Miners got revenge for the loss.
After falling to Riverton 7-0 in the championship game, Bingham had another shot at the title. In game two, Bingham handed the Silverwolves their second loss of the postseason in a 9-0 shutout, giving the coveted title to Sato’s club. It was Bingham’s first championship game appearance since 2015 and its first title since 2013. Overall, Bingham has won 22 state titles, more than any other team in the state.
Repeating as champions won’t be easy, considering the team’s heavy losses to graduation. However, Bingham has plenty of time to acclimate new players and come together as a unit before the Region 4 battles start. The Miners start region play April 9 at home against American Fork in the first of a three-game series. Before that, Miners scheduled six non-region contests. In addition, Bingham will take a break from region when it travels to the Lions Tournament in California April 15–18.