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Draper Journal

Juan Diego baseball third best in state

Jun 11, 2018 02:47PM ● By Catherine Garrett

The Region 11 champion Juan Diego Catholic High School baseball team finished third in state in the 4A classification. (Photo courtesy Michele Deninno)

By Catherine Garrett | c.garrett@mycityjournals.com 

For a team that began the year 0-4, the Juan Diego Catholic High School baseball team sure got things turned around. The Soaring Eagle squad had a 12-game winning streak and then another 10-game winning streak during the season to make a strong statement in the 4A state tournament, taking third overall. 

“The season went great for our team this year,” head coach Kellen Carsey said. “Our kids put in so much time and effort into the season. I am super proud of each and every one of them.” 

“I am so proud of the team for the season that we had,” senior Dawson Stiefel said. “We were young — only having two seniors — and being able to put up a run like we did was truly amazing.” 

“It was a heck of a season and something that I will remember for the rest of my life,” senior Jared Perry said. “It’s hard to go so far at state, but we played up to the level of competition and we definitely turned heads at state.”

At state, Juan Diego hosted Mountain Crest and found themselves down 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning before rallying to score six runs in a walk-off 8-7 win. 

Then, the Soaring Eagle squad defeated Orem 10-2 and Desert Hills 5-2 to reach the semifinals. Two losses — to defending state champion Dixie 10-0 and Desert Hills 14-4 — ended the Region 11 champion’s 22-7 season.

The season began with four losses and could have continued south with “things just not clicking for some of our returners,” according to Carsey. “We started playing as a team more and started believing in each other more,” Stiefel said. 

“I’m so proud of these guys for the way they handled themselves this season, especially during times where things weren't going our way,” Carsey said. “For them to continue to fight and stay composed until the end made everyone involved in our program proud of what these boys accomplished this year.” 

The comebacks for Juan Diego continued even as wins started to pile up. The team found themselves down by multiple runs several times throughout the season, including in its first region games against Park City. Juan Diego won two of three against the Miners and the three-game stand proved pivotal in the Soaring Eagles’ region title run this season. 

“Our team was great,” Perry said. “Once we were in our groove, we were in our groove.” 

“Our guys were able to clutch up at the right times throughout the season,” Stiefel said.

The team was led this season by Easton Rex with seven home runs and 13 extra base hits, while Stiefel added three home runs, four triples and 10 doubles while also recording a 3-1 record on the mound. Junior Cooper Rust (7-1 record) and junior Campbell Magrane (5-0) led the way in pitching for Juan Diego. 

Also on the 2018 squad were juniors Morgan Anderson, Rex Jones, Joe Kinneberg and Nic Van Schoor; sophomores Kaden Bravo, Michael Coleman, Michael Deninno, Connor Doyle, Tre Easterbrook, Cartur Gray, Gavin Harker, Adam Kessler, Matthew Munding, Jordan Perry, Joe Richardson and Lorenzo Soto; and freshmen Preston Bath, O’Pharoah Crockett, David Kinneberg, Matthew LeBrecht, Dominic Lewis, Matthew Mencia, Conor Sawyer, Marcus Slobodnic, Preston Stiefel, Bridger Thorne, Bryson Townsend and Aidan Watts.

Carsey was assisted by Jake Waldram, Kendall Hansen, Parker Lee and Kelton Caldwell on the coaching staff. 

“Overall, it was a great season with our kids working so hard over the course of a year, and this team really had a lot of fun together,” Carsey said.