Sandy • All Copper Hills needed was a win over Jordan on Tuesday afternoon to clinch a share of the Region 3 title so if the Grizzlies could just get starting pitcher Jordan Johnson to throw the game of his life they would be bringing home a trophy.
Well, yes and no.
Jordan 1, Copper Hills 0
Copper Hills 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
Jordan 000 100 X — 1 3 0
Johnson and Brumley. Dirkson and Shaver. WP – Dirkson. LP – Johnson. 2B – Hayes (J), Gomez (J).
Johnson was brilliant but as good as he was, Jordan pitcher Jacob Dirkson was just a few pitches better.
Jordan (11-3) took over the Region 3 lead with one game remaining thanks to Dirkson’s 1-hitter as the Beetdiggers held off Copper Hills 1-0.
"Both pitchers were fantastic. Our pitching and defense kept us in the game," said Jordan coach Chad Fife. "When his [Dirkson’s] curveball is on it’s almost unhittable and he had it working today."
Dirkson used a knee-buckling curveball to baffle Copper Hills, while Johnson went with a cement-standing changeup to keep Jordan guessing.
The result was a pitcher’s dual that lasted 1:20 and went so fast that it barely gave the concession stands time to heat up the hot dogs.
The difference in the game came in the fourth inning when Cale Hathaway drew a 1-out walk, Johnson’s only walk of the game.
After Colton Shaver popped up to first, Mason Hayes hit a double to left-center that scored Hathaway.
All eyes were now on Dirkson to see if he could make the lead hold up. After striking out the first batter in the sixth inning, he issued back-to-back walks to the 8th and 9th hitters.
Jordan’s Mason Kruger promptly killed the Copper Hills when he made a diving stop on a ball that Jake Boyd hit towards the third-base line. Kruger got up in time to touch third base for the second out.
Dirkson then got out of the jam with one of his eight strikeouts of the game to end the inning and keep Jordan’s region title hopes alive.
The two teams are scheduled to finish their three-game series on Wednesday. The winner gets the No. 1 seed from the region.
"I told my boys if we’re going to have to lose why not in a three-hitter. That’s just a great baseball game," said Copper Hills coach John Morgan. "It’s coming down to the wire. Tomorrow is for all the marbles."
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