Bingham baseball, softball sees its seasons begin and end in the same way at stateJul 01, 2022 10:05AM ● By Brian Shaw
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
In case you were wondering, the Bingham Miners baseball and softball teams faced the same odds of playing their third round opponents again in the elimination game of the 6A state tournament: 1-in-6. For everyone counting, that’s a 16.6% chance.
But guess what happened? Lightning did strike twice in the same place, and contrary to popular belief, it often does.
So it went for both Miners teams at the state tournament as they defeated one foe in the state third round — only to have to face them again in the elimination game after losing in the quarterfinals to someone else.
First things first. In the case of the Bingham baseball team, sometimes, you get a lifeline.
For example, in the third round of the 6A state baseball tournament versus Pleasant Grove on Monday, May 23, after having no trouble whatsoever in a 26-1 two-game sweep of Syracuse in the Super Regional, that’s exactly what Bingham got. After a scoreless game through five innings, the Miners had a bit of good fortune. A wild pitch pushed a runner of theirs into scoring position, then a walk moved senior Luke Leatherwood to third in what would eventually become an 8-2 win.
But when the Miners had to face Pleasant Grove again two days later in the one-loss bracket, in a do-or-die situation they were given no lifeline, and no way in which they could be spotted runs. They had to do things the hard way. In the first inning of this elimination game, Pleasant Grove got a huge boost when it smashed a home run, putting the Miners in a 1-0 hole that they couldn’t dig out of until the sixth, which the opposition pushed even further underground at the top of that inning.
Even then, the Miners could only chisel out one run in the bottom of the sixth, and Pleasant Grove would tunnel out that hole even more in the top of the seventh inning. Try as they might, the Miners could only manage one run in the bottom of the seventh. Despite their best efforts to engineer a furious comeback in the final two innings, the Miners could not. With a 3-2 loss they watched their postseason go full circle as they were eliminated by the same team they first defeated at the state tournament.
Between those two games against Pleasant Grove, the Miners (23-7) saw their state tournament run begin to falter, however, against another familiar foe: Riverton.
Head-to-head, the season series was won 2-1 by the Miners over their crosstown rivals. But in what would be the fourth matchup between the two, Bingham got off to a nice start, scoring a run in the first inning.
But Riverton’s pitching would prove to be the difference May 24, as the Miners could not overcome a two-run deficit through five innings, eventually losing 5-2, which moved them into the one-loss bracket at the state tournament and that full-circle showdown against Pleasant Grove that proved to be the last stand.
For Bingham [23-7], who finished the season as Region 3 champions, this was the season the Miners had circled on their calendar, and nobody saw them bowing out so early in the state tournament. They will say goodbye to 11 seniors, including top slugger Jon Hatch and one of their top pitchers in Maxton Peck, both of whom will be playing baseball at Salt Lake Community College.
Conventional wisdom tells you that lightning usually never strikes twice in the same place at the same time. But, in the case of the Bingham softball team, that’s exactly what happened.
What happened to the baseball team is exactly what took place for the Miners softball team, who also suffered their first loss in the 6A state quarterfinals en route to a surprising exit in the elimination game.
The similarities were absolutely uncanny. First, Bingham took on Lone Peak in the Super Regional and 10-run ruled LP in both games, winning 11-1 in each.
Then, Bingham took on West in the third round. The Miners chiseled through their opposition with relative ease, basically taking hold of a stick of dynamite and blasting their way to nine hits, a whopping seven RBI and an eye-popping eight strikeouts from Shelbee Jones for an 8-6 victory.
That brought on Skyridge in the quarterfinals, a game in which there was no such domination from Jones, who coughed up a three-run home run in the first inning — those three runs were enough to hand Bingham a 3-1 loss.
That loss sent the Miners into the one-loss bracket, where they would be taking on — West. Again. And, you know what they say about how hard it is to defeat the same team twice; now Bingham had to do so within a two-day window.
The Miners came to play, though Jones again gave up a home run in the first inning for the second consecutive game to spot West a 2-0 lead. Though the Miners trailed early in this do-or-die 6A elimination game, they settled down and led 5-2 going into the fifth inning after a triple from junior Braxtyn Hunter and 3 RBI hits by three other Miners. But West’s bats cranked up in the fifth and sixth, smashing two-run homers in each inning off Jones to hand the Miners a 6-5 loss.
But, there is good news for Bingham [25-6], who next year will return both Jones, who pitched in all 30 games and led the team with 15 home runs, and Hunter, who led Bingham in doubles, triples and RBI. The Miners will say goodbye to five seniors, including Noe Barawis, who has committed to continue her softball at Southwestern Oregon.