A trio of local baseball teams fared about as well as they could in Monday’s one-loss bracket of the Utah American Legion state tournament.
Blacksmith Fork, Cache Valley and Ridgeline dropped down to the elimination bracket after all losing in Saturday’s winner’s bracket. The three teams bounced back by going a combined 5-1 Monday at a pair of venues. It was impossible for the local squads to go 6-0, inasmuch as Ridgeline and Cache Valley squared off Monday night at Pleasant Grove High School.
Blacksmith Fork (Mountain Crest) and Ridgeline both reigned supreme in a pair of elimination games to secure their spot among the final six programs in the 16-team tourney. Blacksmith Fork, the No. 7 seed, rallied to beat No. 13 Washington by a 7-6 scoreline, and then defeated No. 6 Kearns, 7-3. Ridgeline, the No. 5 seed, only needed six innings to dispatch of No. 15 Viewmont, 13-3, and then eliminated top-seeded Cache Valley, 11-5.
The Blacksmith Fork Trappers (19-10-1) hung tough with No. 2 Herriman on Saturday before falling, 8-1. The Mustangs, who have yet to lose in this tournament, exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to break a 1-1 deadlock. Nathan Rowley had two of Blacksmith Fork’s four base knocks in that contest.
It was looking pretty bleak for the Trappers in their first game Monday as Washington took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Blacksmith Fork was undaunted, though, as it plated four runs in the home half of that inning — two on a Tate Rasmussen double — to pull even.
The Trappers then came through with back-to-back-to-back singles by Rasmussen, Wyatt Albrecht and Luke Palmer in the bottom of the seventh. Palmer’s base knock was of the walk-off variety.
Rowley had another strong outing at the plate for Blacksmith Fork as he went 3 for 3 with a run and a walk. Rasmussen chipped in with a pair of runs, hits and RBIs for the Trappers, while JC Jones added one run, one hit, two RBIs and one walk.
Rilee Maddock pitched the final two frames for the Blacksmith Fork and held Washington scoreless on three hits. Maddock struck out one and walked one.
Maddock also came up big against Kearns as he limited the Cougars to zero runs on one base knock in three complete. Once again, No. 13 didn’t issue any free passes.
The Trappers never trailed against the Cougars as they took a 5-0 advantage after four frames. Blake Robinson’s two-run single in the top of the third loomed large for Blacksmith Fork, which got a two-run homer from JC Jones over the fence in left in the sixth inning for some much-needed breathing room after Kearns manufactured three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Once again, Rowley led the charge offensively as he contributed with two runs, three hits, one RBI and one walk. Robinson finished with a pair of hits and RBIs for the Trappers, who got one run, two base knocks and one RBI from Andrew Nielsen. Blacksmith Fork’s Kaden Deeter scored one, singled twice and was plunked once.
Porter Larsen started the game on the mound for the Trappers, went four complete, scattered four hits and gave up two earned runs.
“Besides one inning today all of our pitchers were awesome, especially Rilee Maddock, who came in and shut both (opponents) down in critical times in the games,” said BF head coach Trace Hansen, whose team only committed one error in its two Monday games. “We came up with some timely hits and our at-bats after the first five innings were really good, and carried over into the second game. Tate Rasmussen came up with a clutch double in game one and JC Jones’ home run was big as it seemed to help our team relax a little and play loose.”
Like Blacksmith Fork, Ridgeline was very competitive in its winner’s bracket game on Saturday. After all, Ridgeline and No. 4 Helper were tied at 6-6 before the Merchants took control with seven runs in the bottom of the fifth. Helper ended up prevailing by a 13-8 scoreline.
Davis Fullmer shined at the plate for the Mavericks (20-11-1) on Saturday as he belted a solo shot over the fence in right to lead off the top of the seventh, plus he also contributed with
a single, two runs and three RBIs. Easton Dahlke doubled twice for Ridgeline, which also got a two-bagger from Trey Purser.
The Mavericks have hit the ball very well in all four of their games in this tournament and that trended definitely continued Monday. Ridgeline accumulated 14 base knocks against Viewmont, plus racked up 13 against Cache Valley.
Ridgeline raced out to a 5-1 lead after one inning against Viewmont, and never looked back. The Vikings had no answer for Ridgeline’s Marshall Hansen, who went 4 for 4 with a triple, double, two singles, four runs and two RBIs. Carter Gill and Noah Sim each doubled for the Mavericks.
Purser finished with a pair of hits and RBIs for Ridgeline, which got three runs, one hit, one RBI and one walk from Gill, two hits from Max Baer, and one run, two hits and a trio of RBIs from Fullmer.
The Mavericks invoked the mercy rule in the sixth frame when Sim came home courtesy of a Gill double. Ridgeline was also rock solid defensively as it turned a pair of inning-ending double plays.
Hudson Phelps smacked a bases-clearing double to help give Cache Valley a 4-1 lead over Ridgeline on Monday night at Pleasant Grove High School. The Mavericks immediately bounced back by putting a five-spot on the scoreboard in the top of the second, and then kept extending their lead.
Landon Reeder and Chase Carter also doubled for Cache Valley, while Davis and Kadeyn Miller doubled for Ridgeline. Hansen went 4 for 4 with three runs and a walk for the Mavericks, who got one run, two hits and two walks from Jaxen Hollingsworth, plus one run, one hits, two RBIs and one walk from Davis.
Additionally, Hollingsworth got the job done on the mound. No. 6 was the third pitcher Ridgeline used and he held Cache Valley to one run on three hits in three and one-third innings. Hollingsworth fanned three and walked one.
"Good team wins all the way around," RHS head coach Justin Jensen said.
In addition to his double, Carter also singled twice and scored once for Cache Valley, which had 10 hits. Dane Folkman added two hits for the Crew.
The short-handed Crew responded from a frustrating 12-0 Saturday loss to Lone Peak — which is currently the other undefeated team at this tourney — by putting together a solid all-around performance in Monday’s 7-3 victory over No. 11 Stansbury. The Crew, who are comprised of recent graduates from Mountain Crest, Sky View, Bear River and Box Elder, were missing at least four starters Monday.
Lance Welch was sharp on the mound for Cache Valley and he fanned 13 in six and two-third innings. The southpaw scattered seven hits and issued four free passes. Welch also aided his own cause with one run, two hits, one RBI and one walk.
Reeder came through with a timely two-run double in the bottom of the third for the Crew, who took advantage of 11 free passes. Braydon Schiess chipped in with two runs, one hit and two free passes for Cache Valley, which got one run, one hit, one RBI and a trio of free passes from Preston Jones.
The Crew plated two runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed against the Stallions.
Ridgeline and Blacksmith Fork will both be back in action Tuesday at Pleasant Grove. The Trappers will square off against Pleasant Grove at 12:30 p.m., while the Mavericks will get a rematch with Helper at 3 p.m.