SHELLEY — With the wind howling somewhere between 25 and 40 mph Thursday afternoon the talk prior to the Shelley Russets season opener with defending 3A state champion Snake River was focused on how the baseball would react to the wind.
But it became evident in the very first inning that hits would be hard to come by as both the Russets and Panthers had their aces on the mound.
Shelley got a bloop two-RBI single from Stockton Stohl and scratched out two more runs in the fourth on the way to a 4-1 win over the Panthers at Shelley High School on Thursday.
"Kaden Schmitt pitched really well today," Shelley head coach Trent Armstrong said. "It was a good performance for our first time out this season against a really good team."
Schmitt, a Utah Valley commit was in midseason form from the start. The senior struck out the first two Panthers hitters he faced on just seven pitches on the way to 11 strikeouts for the game.
"Schmitt pitched really well," Snake River head coach Rich Dunn said. "Our kids had a hard time catching up to his fastball and just putting the ball in play all day."
Schmitt did not allow a hit until their were two outs in the fourth inning.
The hit came from Brad Coombs who had not played baseball for three years and is the Panthers first baseman this season.
"Leave it to the guy who takes three years off to break up the no-hitter," Dunn joked.
Coombs single was the first of two Panther hits in the inning as Kade Keller followed with a single of his own. But the Panthers first good scoring chance of the game went by the wayside as Schmitt struck out Sean Miller to end the inning.
Keller was the starts for the Panthers and pitched very well allowing just three hits in the game, but the biggest one came in the first inning and was definitely wind aided.
Keller walked leadoff hitter Josh Peterson and after a sacrifice bunt, groundout and another walk to Russets had runners on second and third and two outs and Stohl at the plate.
After working the count full, Stohl hit a blooper into right field, but as the ball got up into the air the wind slowed its flight and it bounced right in front of Panthers right fielder Damon Dance allowing both runs to score.
Shelley got two more runs in the third thanks in part to three Panther errors. Schmitt recorded the only hit of the inning and came around to score on a throwing error.
"Poor hitting and poor defense was the difference in the game," Dunn said. "We did not make real good contact today, but we also did not give up many hits to them either."
Wyatt Vogler and Sean Miller each had doubles to lead the Panthers at the plate.
Stohl has a single and two RBI for the Russets.
The Panthers and Russets meet again on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Snake River High School.
Shelley 4, Snake River 1
Snake River 000 001 0 — 1 5 5
Shelley 202 000 x — 4 3 0
Snake River — Kade Keller, Brad Coombs ( 5) and Sean Miller. Shelley — Kaden Schmitt and Colt Johnson. 2B — Wyatt Vogler (SR), Sean Miller (SR).