One big inning proved to be enough for the Trappers for keep their season alive.
Blacksmith Fork plated all four of its runs in the top of the second en route to a 4-3 victory over Lone Peak to stave off elimination in the Utah State American Legion tournament on Saturday afternoon at Skyline High School.
“We were patient and didn’t chase any (pitches) outside the (strike) zone, and then their pitcher did get a little wild and walked a few guys,” Blacksmith Fork head coach Stephen Hansen said. “And we got some runs in, so scoring four runs in just one inning was good enough for us today.”
Caleb Archibald jump-started the Blacksmith Fork offense with a lead-off single and he would eventually score on a Hayden Simper walk. Ethan Wilson, Brady Hall and Garrett Theurer — Wilson and Hall both scored — also walked in the inning for the Trappers, who got an RBI groundout from Taylor Bitton. Simper came racing home on a double steal attempt to give the designated visitors a 4-0 advantage.
Lone Peak, the No. 1 seed from the North Region, pulled one run back in the third inning and scored twice in the fifth to pare its deficit to 4-3. The Knights stranded a base runner at third in the fifth and sixth frames, plus left two in scoring position in the bottom of the third.
Starting pitcher Caleb Archibald got the job done when the Knights threatened to pull even, and Blacksmith Fork’s defense made some clutch plays behind him. Archibald scattered eight singles in six full innings on the mound, struck out four and didn’t walk or plunk anybody.
Brady Hall retired the side in the bottom of the seventh to earn the save for the Trappers, who beat the Knights both times they squared off this summer.
“Caleb Archibald threw really well throughout some jams after we made a couple of errors, and he bore down and made some big pitches when he needed to,” Hansen said. “And Hayden Simper made a diving play (at third base) that saved a run, and our defense was good behind (Archibald), so it was good to minimize the damage so they didn’t get more runs than they did.”
The Trappers only managed two hits in the contest — the second being a single by Bitton — but walked seven times. Simper drew a base on balls in all three of his at-bats.
Blacksmith Fork, the No. 3 seed from the North, will now face Syracuse in another elimination game Monday at 5 p.m. at Salt Lake Community College. The Trappers defeated Syracuse, the fourth seed from the North, 12-2 and 13-8 on separate days during the regular season.
“Very proud (of our team),” Hansen said. “You know, they came ready to play and we did what we needed to win, and we get to go down there on Monday and play another game. And we’re just trying to get better and every game that we play, particularly when we can win, that will just make us that much better.”
Merchants 5, Titans 1
North Cache got off to a solid start, but struggled at the plate and was eliminated from the Legion tournament by Helper, the No. 1 seed from the south.
“We didn’t do the little things well and it just kind of felt like the whole team, just the team as a whole ... just wasn’t ready to compete today,” North Cache head coach Todd Phillips said.
The Titans, the No. 2 seed from the North, plated their lone run in the bottom of the first. Ryder Lundahl came through with a lead-off double and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Eric Carter.
Unfortunately for the Titans, they only managed two base knocks the rest of the way — a double by Cooper Kunz and a single by Taydem Neal. Meanwhile, the Merchants, who saved their No. 1 pitcher for Saturday’s game, racked up 12 hits.
Helper stranded 10 base runners to help keep North Cache within striking distance. However, the Titans only moved two base runners into scoring position after the first frame.
“I honestly didn’t feel like they were more talented than us by any means,” Phillips said.
Although frustrated by Saturday’s season-ending setback, Phillips was very encouraged by what he saw from his squad this summer. Sky View captured its first region title since 2004 this spring, but graduated nine seniors. Three of those recent graduates consistently played for the Titans during the Legion season.
“We had a good summer and we definitely had younger guys stepping up, and I feel like we’ve come a good distance as a team,” Phillips said. “We’ve come together as a team and I’m looking forward to continuing to do so with the guys next year. And I told the (class of 2018) seniors that were with us — Dawson (Barson) and Eric and Cooper — that it’s been fun having them around and getting to be with them, and I’m definitely grateful for what they contributed to the program.
“... They helped teach the boys, the underclassmen, so that was definitely key I think for us this summer to keep those seniors and allow them to be able to pass on their knowledge to next year’s group. And our group for next year I feel is hungry to learn, they’re hungry to get better and hopefully continue what we were able to get started this past year.”
Helper will play Salem Hills in the other elimination game. In the winner’s bracket, Pleasant Grove will square off against St. George.