OREM – Dylan File knew he didn’t have his best stuff on the mound Thursday in the 3A State Quarterfinals against Pine View. Good thing he brought his bat.
The Desert Hills senior hit the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning and then struck out the final Panther with the tying run on third in the seventh to give the Thunder a 3-2 victory at Brent Brown Ballpark here in Orem.
“Yeah, I really didn’t have my best stuff, but also give credit to Pine View,” File said. “They have a lot of good hitters and really battled. On that (home run), I kind of knew what was coming and he threw it in a good spot for me.”
The win sends D-Hills into the state semifinals in the winner’s bracket, leaving the Thunder a possible two wins away from their first state championship.
“It was so important for us to get this win today,” DH coach Jerry Beck said. “Dropping into that loser’s bracket makes it so hard because you end up having to scratch for five wins in two days.”
File’s homer, which led off the sixth inning, completed a rally for Desert Hills, which trailed 2-1 through four innings.
“I really have a lot of respect for Pine View,” Beck said. “They have just gotten better and better this season. They played well today. That was a real pressure-packed game.”
Pine View finished tied for third in the region, two games behind Desert Hills. But the two teams looked dead even Thursday. In fact, with more hits and some sterling defensive gems, the Panthers looked like the better team at times. But File and his teammates made sure the game didn’t end that way.
“We gutted this one out, that’s for sure,” Beck said. “Dylan wasn’t at the top of his game, but he fought through some adversity and made some big pitches late in the game.”
The Thunder scored a run in the first inning off of a Pine View error and, with File and PV’s Dakota Donovan both pitching well, the score stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth. Donovan led off with a walk and senior Triston Duran ran for him. After a couple of Pine View outs, Dylan Draper ripped a liner into left field, chasing Duran home and tying the game at 1-1. Kash Walker followed with a double to the left-center field gap that scored Draper and gave PV the lead.
The Thunder tied the game in the fifth, with Clay Gardner sparking the rally with a lead-off single. He reached second on an error and scored on an RBI single by Evan Moss.
PV went down quietly in the bottom of the fifth, setting up File’s go-ahead dinger in the sixth. But the job wasn’t done yet.
The Panthers got the tying run to second in the sixth, but left him on base. In the seventh, Walker singled and Micah Morgan walked as Pine View had runners at first and third with two outs. File worked the count to 2-2 vs. Pine View’s hot-hitting Hunter Hansen. He then ended the game with a high fastball that Hansen couldn’t quite catch up with.
Pine View had eight hits, but also left eight men on base. Desert Hills, meanwhile, had just four hits, but economically left just three men on.
The Thunder, 21-5, play Thursday in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. against Grantsville, which won easily against Juan Diego.
The Panthers, 14-10, will have to work their way through the one-loss bracket to get another shot at Desert Hills. That journey begins at 11 a.m. Friday with a battle against Region 9 rival Cedar. The Redmen stayed alive with wins over Uintah (11-5) and Richfield (9-3). In the Uintah game, Brock Esplin hit a grand slam in the first inning to power Cedar to the early big lead.
Canyon View was eliminated by Park City Thursday evening.The Falcons had staved off elimination in the early game by beating Stansbury 5-2. But CV gave up the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh to Park City in a 4-3 loss Thursday night.
Jaxon Hermansen had the game-winning RBI for PC.
All Pine View and Desert Hills games can be heard on ESPN SportsRadio 106.1 FM and online at sportsradio1061.com.
Video produced by Dallas Griffin
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