High School Baseball: Maple Mountain, Orem, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork Earn 5A State Tournament Wins

The championship stages of the 5A State Baseball Tournament kicked off Monday at Cate Field at Salt Lake Community College with four games being played in two separate double-elimination pools.

The first game of the day was marked by an 8-6 win for Maple Mountain over the Woods Cross Wildcats. The Golden Eagles immediately took a 4-0 lead early in the game and never gave up control despite many valiant efforts by the Wildcats. Cole Rollins and Benji Horsley managed to draw a walk and a shot in back-to-back appearances at home plate to charge the goals with two runs already coming home. That’s when Josh Crandall had a big baseline that slipped out of the left field line which brought in another pair of points to give his team control.

Woods Cross fought back, scoring his six runs crossing plate in every odd inning, but the Golden Eagles kept their distance throughout the game. With no one and two outs at the top of the third, a walk from Toby Studdert allowed two more hits to score two runs and extend their lead to five. Crandall found himself at bat again with players in goal position in the fourth inning, picking up another two-RBI single to meet a pair of runs the Wildcats had just scored.

In the final frame, Woods Cross was able to put pressure on Cole Rollins. A seven-length double and a nine-length single put the equalizer back on base with just one out. Rollins refocused and began hitting the next two hitters, picking up the vital Maple Mountain victory on day one of the weeklong tournament.

“You have to have a plan and an approach. We wanted the pitch in the middle, and he didn’t miss a foot. If you can do your job, you have to be confident in the results. He did a fantastic job, he fought, the Woods Cross shelter was very loud and energetic, but he did his thing and had a good game for us, ”said Maple Mountain coach Gary Undermine.

Late night saw seeded Olympus fall to Orem 1-0 in a pitching duel between Ashton Johnson and Clayton Burke. Both pitchers completed the full seven innings, had eight strikeouts and combined to allow just four total hits throughout the game.

At the start of the sixth round, Orem had yet to register a single stroke. Sawyer Slade and Taylor Gill managed to draw steps, putting a runner in goal position for Cohen Strickland. Facing a 1-1 count, Strickland managed to get a line practice to right field that saw the Tigers just hit and run of the game as they pulled off another upset.

Support 2 was presented in the middle of the day, in the early afternoon Salem Hills battled Farmington 2-0 behind a full shutout from Stone Cushing.

Zaylun Fenn hit a sacrificed fly at center field in the first inning and that run was enough to win the ball game. The SkyHawks offense struggled early on. After the bag was stolen they left two runners, then Jarret Elmer had a starting triple in the second, but again Salem Hills couldn’t get him home.

Cushing hit the side to start the game and rarely missed the rest of the way. He finished with eight strikeouts, four hits allowed and failed to walk a single batter in a masterful performance.

When asked what it was like to pitch for so long with just a one-set lead, Cushing said, “Anytime we have a lead this year it’s just comfortable. I feel comfortable with our team, I feel comfortable with our chances.

The best chance for Farmington to score came in the fifth inning. A hit by the ball, followed by a double and another hit by the ball charged the bases of the Phoenix with their powerful hitter coming to bat. With a 0-1 count, the SkyHawks threw a ball that Elmer sent back to second baseman Gavin Averett, picking the potential lead run to end the inning.

Salem Hills added a run in the sixth inning which allowed them to be a bit more aggressive in closing the game. They did and got a big win – it’s really hard to win on Saturday without winning on Monday.

“The best pitching staff are going to win, we’re going to have to have more guys, we love our staff and we’ll just keep looking for them,” Salem Hills coach Scott Haney said.

Spanish Fork clinched an 8-3 victory over Timpanogos in a close game that saw his momentum change late.

The Mighty Dons were trailing 3-1 at the start of the fifth inning. With two strikeouts and two, Will Dart hit a ball in the middle of the field that cut the Timberwolves’ lead in half. Zac Dart walked before Easton Romero came to bat. Romero battled a 1-2 count, eventually forcing him to fill up. He then took the eighth bat over the right wall of the field, turning a one-point deficit into a three-point lead in the process.

Monday’s results set up an exciting Tuesday as the tournament progresses. Salem Hills will face Spanish Fork and Orem will play Maple Mountain in the night games while Timpanogos, Farmington, Olympus and Woods Cross take part in a morning loss.

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