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Herriman Journal

Despite obstacles, Mountain Ridge baseball off to promising start

Apr 09, 2024 10:28AM ● By Josh McFadden

The Mountain Ridge baseball team could be in the mix for a top spot in Region 2 and among all Class 6A teams. (Photo courtesy Jesse Iacono)

You may have heard the saying, “If you don’t like the weather in Utah, wait a minute.”

This is certainly true in early springtime when you might have anything from snow and freezing temperatures to wind and rain to sunny skies and warmth. The drastic changes can affect high school spring sports, including the baseball team at Mountain Ridge High School. The Sentinels have had to make adjustments to practice and game schedules. Plus, if that’s not enough, work on the baseball field has required some flexibility and changes to the team’s routine. 

All in all, Mountain Ridge has taken the challenges in stride and started the year with a 4-3 record. 

“The varsity team has had to deal with less than an ideal start with practice time being limited by the weather and a field renovation,” head coach Brock Whitney said. “However, the boys have gone about it very maturely.”

Mountain Ridge has set the bar high this season, looking to be a contender in the Class 6A state tournament. Last season, the Sentinels went 21-9 and placed second behind Riverton in Region 3 with a solid 11-4 record. Mountain Ridge lost in bracket play of the tournament last year. Whitney also expects his players to get along well, develop strong bonds and respect one another, all while giving their best effort every day.

“Our expectations for this year are to be in the mix for region and make it to the final eight teams in the state tournament,” he said. “Our goals are to play hard, to focus on what we can control and to love each other.”

There are many reasons for optimism. The sentinels have some firepower at the plate, good pitching and skilled fielders on the squad. Whitney singled out senior pitcher and outfielder Jaxson Reiser as a team leader and top player. He’s also excited about what senior catcher Austin Ellis has been doing. Anderson Decker, a senior pitcher and first baseman, offers leadership and reliability on the field. 

“[Reiser] is one of our leaders and has amazing talent in all aspects on the field,” Whitney said. “[Ellis] is another leader and a spark plug for our team. He is able to communicate well with our pitching staff and is a positive influence on the field. [Decker] is a great kid on and off the field and he is an awesome competitor. It is going to be fun watching him pitch this year.”

Whitney can also turn to senior second baseman Luke Nelson, senior outfielder Remington Edwards and junior pitcher/first baseman Dylan Singleton. Another standout for Mountain Ridge is Stockton Fowlks, a junior third baseman. 

“[Nelson] returns this year with great experience getting time as a sophomore and starting every game as a junior,” Whitney said. “[He] is as consistent of a player as we have on our team and that is something we love about him. [Edwards] has put in a lot of work between this season and last season, and he was All-State last year. We are excited to see what he does this year for our team. [Singleton] has already pitched a lot for us when as a freshman he led our team in appearances and as a junior had just under 40 innings pitched. We are looking for him to continue to be a big factor for us. [Fowlks] is super competitive, and it shows in every aspect on the field. He has put in a lot of work as well and is looking to improve on a great season last year.”

Mountain Ridge has an experienced team and a strong pitching staff. Whitney said if the players accept their roles and support one another, great things could be in store for the Sentinels. 

Mountain Ridge had a chance to participate in the IMG National Classic tournament in Florida March 25–27 where it faced a team from Florida, one from New York and even a squad from Puerto Rico. The Sentinels went 1-2 in the tournament. Mountain Ridge, now in Region 2, will face every league foe three times consecutively, ending with a group of games against Herriman May 10. The state tournament then follows. 

No matter what happens on the scoreboard or in the standings, Whitney said he and his staff enjoy the opportunity to teach and lead the boys. 

“We love coaching these boys because of their personalities and their drive,” he said. “They have high standards and goals for themselves as individuals and as a team. They are hardworking and coachable and always striving to get better. The last thing that we love about this group is their competitiveness; we don’t have to ever remind them about that.” λ



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