By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley Pirates 13 and under (13U) baseball team took third place in a regional tournament in St. George, UT on the weekend of Apr. 7-8. The tournament brought together 14 ball clubs, in this age group, from across southern Utah, Las Vegas and Cedar City.
The Pirate team played five games in the tournament and came away with a 4-1 tournament record. They beat teams from Cedar City, Las Vegas, Hurricane and St. George. Their one loss came when playing a second team from Dixie.
“Those Dixie teams are always tough,” said Coach Darin Hadley. “But we won one of them which was good.”
The team’s pitching staff was a key component in the tournament performance. Pitching for the Pirate team were Gavin Hadley, Rylan Evans, Peyton Neilson and Ryan Allen. Together these boys recorded 30 strikeouts in the tournament.
“Our pitching was very strong,” said Hadley. “We had one game where our pitchers only allowed one base runner.”
On offense, all of the batters contributed to the tournament performance. The team was led by Ryan Allen with nine hits, and Rylan Evans with eight.
The team even had one 11 year-old who travelled with them to play in the tournament. Aiden Johnson stepped in to play when another of the team members fell sick that weekend. “He did really well, scoring several runs and a base hit in the tournament,” Hadley said.
Other team members at the tournament included Carson Heiselbetz, Austin Heiselbetz, Gunner Redd, Chris Hoy, Houston Neilson and Avery Stratton.
Hadley said that he was pleased with how far the team had come and how well the players had performed against tough teams in the tournament.
“We have some very strong talent at this age,” he said. “We are hoping to keep feeding the baseball program at Moapa Valley High School with strong players for many years to come.”