They started off slow, those Bobcats. The Panguitch bats were a little quieter than usual against West Ridge Academy.
By the second inning, they were deafening.
"Our coach told us that if we each got on base at least twice, we could 10-run them," Panguitch's Dalan Bennett said. "I think just about all of us held up our end."
Bennett and Chance Campbell did the damage on the mound, combining to pitch five hitless innings against the Eagles and leading Panguitch to a 12-0 victory in the Class 1A baseball state semifinals. With the Friday afternoon win at Dixie State, the Bobcats will have a chance to defend their state title against Piute on Saturday morning.
Panguitch was in fine form Friday, exploding for nine runs in the second inning to drum up an insurmountable lead on West Ridge Academy. Although pitcher Joe Giacchetti struck out two in the first, it quickly got out of control in the second.
The Bobcats only scored one run each in the third and fourth innings, but it was enough to snuff the Eagles, who couldn't crack the Panguitch pitching tandem. West Ridge did draw two walks, but the baserunners couldn't reach home.
Panguitch is now 21-0 this year, with a 25-game winning streak dating back to last season.
The Bobcats have beaten their Region 20 rival Piute the last 11 times the teams have played.
The last time the Thunderbirds beat Panguitch was in 2009. Bennett expects the current trend to continue.
"I think we're feeling pretty confident," Bennett said. "I think the winning streak gives us a mental edge over everyone else."
Piute 9, Tabiona 3 • The Thunderbirds had a five-run rally in the fourth and came back to beat Tabiona 9-3 in the second semifinal of the day.
Kaden Blood pitched a complete game. He struck out six and held the Tigers scoreless after the first inning. Logan Steed went 2 for 4 with a walk to lead Piute's offensive effort.
Thunderbirds coach Kennedy Sylvester said the team was eager for a rematch against Panguitch.
"We played them pretty well in two of the three games," he said. "We think we have a chance."
Class 1A baseball championship
P Panguitch vs. Piute
At Dixie State College, 11 a.m.