Class 1A baseball: Panguitch completes perfect season with state title
Senior Josh Henrie rounded first base and continued past second with his arm raised high in the air.
His single to center field with the bases loaded drove in two runs to lift Panguitch to its second consecutive Class 1A state baseball title Saturday at Dixie State.
"It's what you dream about your whole life playing baseball," Henrie said. "It's what you want to do."
The hit lifted Panguitch past Piute 15-5 in six innings to end a perfect 23-0 season for the Bobcats, who have won three of the last four 1A state titles.
Panguitch coach Clint Barney called timeout and had a chat with Henrie before his final at-bat.
"He told me that I get a base hit, it scores two runs and we win, and how great of a way it would be to end my senior season," Henrie said. "So I just got up there and tried to put the ball in play somewhere."
He said he wasn't sure if the ball would be caught when he first hit it, but he began celebrating when he saw it drop into center field.
"Josh got that hit, and I was like, 'Holy cow, we just won state,'" Panguitch senior Kaden Figgins said. "We ran out there and did a little dog pile on the mound."
Figgins watched the bottom of the sixth inning unfold while mentally preparing to take the field for the seventh inning.
"We were the home team, and I was just thinking they had to bat one more time when we were up 12-5," he said. "I had my mitt in my hand."
Piute, which was the visitor, started strong. The Thunderbirds struck for three runs in the first inning.
"I think we were ready to play today," Piute coach Kennedy Sylvester said. "We're just a little inexperienced. We had a couple things come up during the game that hurt us a little."
Barney said he could feel the pressure of completing a perfect season mounting in his dugout during that first inning.
"A bunch of us were pretty nervous," said Panguitch senior Sam Vasquez, who scored three runs.
But the Bobcats gained the lead with four runs in the bottom of the second inning despite only one hit. Piute tied the score in the top of the third before the Bobcats took command with five runs in their half of the third.
"We've always said we need to start off strong, but we never really have," said Figgins, who scored three times. "We've always got better as the game goes on. I knew it wasn't over. I knew we still had 6 1/2 innings to play. I knew what our team had."
Panguitch had a specific plan against Piute starter Kaden Blood, who pitched seven innings in his team's semifinal win.
"We just needed to be patient," Figgins said.
Blood ended up taking the loss Saturday.
"We just felt like we had the best chance with him on the mound," Sylvester said about Blood. "He's a kid that's very hard to hit when he's having a good day. And he's a pitcher who throws hard."
Dalan Bennett earned the win for Panguitch. He struck out two over six innings to complete his team's perfect season.
"The kids never really spoke about going undefeated, but you could tell the pressure was getting there," Barney said. "To be honest, I'm glad the season's over because you get to a point where there's not a whole lot more to accomplish except to get upset. I'm thrilled how it ended." Last 10 1A champions
2012 • Panguitch
2011 • Panguitch
2010 • Wayne
2009 • Panguitch
2008 • Wayne
2007 • Wayne
2006 • Wayne
2005 • Panguitch
2004 • Waterford
2003 • Panguitch