CARY, N.C.—The box score read 10-0, but Bingham (Utah) High head coach Joel Sato was raving about his starting pitcher’s performance in the Miners’ first-round game against Roberson High (Asheville, N.C.). Righthander Chase Tavonatti went the distance, pitching a complete game shutout on 79 pitches. He struck out three and walked one while allowing just two hits.
“Ever since he’s been in our program, we knew that he is a competitor,” Sato said. “When there’s a tough situation at the plate or on the mound, he’s a kid we’re happy to have. He struggled over the winter a little bit and in preseason, but he’s found it. Throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters and he’s on track to have a good season for us.”
The Miners’ big inning came in the third when they scored four runs on four hits and a walk. Catcher Jacob Druce got things going with a bases-loaded single. Outfielder Austin Florez followed with an RBI single before a walk and another hit made it 5-0.
Bingham stretched the lead to 8-0 in the fifth inning on a single, bases-loaded walk and wild pitch.
Druce finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Lefty Braxton Davidson, a junior, got the start for Roberson and went 2 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and two walks.
“We are blessed to be here and have this opportunity,” Roberson head coach Eric Filipek said. “I wish we could have performed a little better today, but I expect us to bounce back tomorrow.
“It came down to our opponent doing the little things well, playing baseball the way it’s supposed to be played. We were unable to do that today. When you’re playing good competition, if you don’t do the little things, you’re not going to be competitive.”
Bingham will now play Harvard-Westlake High (Studio City, Calif.) in the quarterfinals on Thursday.