POCATELLO – Halliwell Park is where Ben Ditton belongs, like any other successful and dedicated local baseball player.
Ditton has played there while representing Century High, the Idaho State club team in addition to the Gate City Grays, who he is playing for this summer for the first time.
The outfielder has made an immediate impact with the semi-pro squad, if Saturday is an indication. At Halliwell Park, he gave Gate City a 5-4 walk-off win over the Logan Royals in the opener of a doubleheader sweep, which also included an 11-2 win.
To close the opener, Ditton had a two-RBI double with no outs, driving in KC Qualls and Braden Palmer for the winning runs.
“I was just trying to do a job, score at least one run, put the ball in the outfield,” Ditton said.
Previous games against Logan had been drama-less for the Grays, who were 3-0 against the Royals entering Saturday and outscored them by an average margin of seven runs. But Gate City (14-12) was held to its lowest-scoring output in the season series in the opener.
“We didn’t come off as hot as we have in the past,” Ditton said. “Just took us a minute to get going, but once we got into it, we really got going.”
Gate City jumped ahead 3-1 in the second inning from Qualls’ two-RBI double, but the Grays did not build on the momentum and allowed Logan to tie the score 3-3 in the next inning.
For the game-tying runs, Logan batter Tanner Richardson had a two-RBI double to the centerfield wall. Grays catcher Dawson Keller had a chance to make a challenging catch and tag, but failed to corral the ball – leading to the second runner to come in.
After Logan took a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth inning, Gate City did not respond spryly with two hits in the next two innings combined. The best that the Grays did was not allow their deficit to widen, setting up the bottom of the seventh inning, when lightning struck – literally.
Before Ditton went to the plate, thunderstorms inched closer to the local area and a bolt of lightning could be seen in the distance, outside the outfield wall.
Then, Ditton won the Grays the game with a hit to the outfield.
The Grays had lost their last four games against Northern Utah League teams entering the doubleheader, but now ride a two-game winning streak as they head to Hyrum on Monday to play the Hornets.