The opportunity to compete for an American Legion state title will begin next week for five — possibly six — local programs.
Thirty-five baseball teams from throughout the Beehive State will have a chance to showcase their talents in the 2020 Utah 19U Legion State Championships. A trio of play-in games took place Friday night and were ongoing when The Herald Journal went to press. Among those contests was a matchup between No. 32 American Leadership Academy and No. 33 North Cache (Sky View).
Cache Valley’s other five American Legion teams will all play in a best-of-three series, starting next Monday, for the right to advance to a 16-squad, double-elimination bracket. The Cache Valley Sox secured the No. 1 seed and will play the winner of the American Leadership and North Cache game.
Here are the other matchups involving local teams: No. 23 Green Canyon at No. 10 Blacksmith Fork (Mountain Crest); No. 17 West Jordan at No. 16 Logan; No. 24 Ridgeline at No. 9 Vernal. Each best-of-three series will feature a Monday doubleheader with an if-necessary game on Tuesday.
All six local teams played at least two games this week, and coverage from all of the Tuesday contests can be found in Thursday’s edition of The Herald Journal. Here is a roundup of how the sixth full week of legion play went for the Cache County programs:
The Sox improved to 21-2 against legion competition this season by breezing past Logan in a Monday twinbill. Cache Valley won the opener 9-2 and only needed five innings to dispatch of the Grizzlies in the nightcap, 14-0. The team comprised entirely of recent Mountain Crest and Ridgeline graduates racked up 16 hits in each of the contests.
Logan had no answer for Cache Valley slugger Daxton Purser, who was also unstoppable offensively in his team’s aforementioned doubleheader sweep of Blacksmith Fork on Tuesday. In the opener against the Grizzlies, Purser, who had a grand slam against the Trappers, went 4 for 4 at the plate with a solo homer, double, three RBIs and two runs. In the nightcap, the future Salt Lake Community College player finished with a trio of hits and runs.
Kade Hansen, Caleb Archibald and Ian McArthur each contributed with two base knocks in the opener for the Sox, who got a double from Cooper Murphy. Kyler Hansen pitched the first six innings and held the Grizzlies to one run on three hits. He struck out nine and walked one.
Archibald sparkled for the Sox in Game 2 as he doubled twice, singled and added a pair of runs and RBIs. Murphy chipped in with two hits and three RBIs, Jace Ward belted a two-run triple, Kade Hansen accounted for two runs and two RBIs, and Kyler Hansen singled twice.
Hayden Simper pitched all five frames for Cache Valley. He scattered three hits, fanned four and issued three free passes.
The Trappers capped off a busy week with an impressive 10-0 triumph over Green Canyon on Wednesday. Blacksmith Fork (14-11) swept a twinbill against Ridgeline on Monday and was swept by Cache Valley on Tuesday.
Blacksmith Fork started its week by pulling out a pair of hard-fought wins over Ridgeline, 3-1 and 5-4. The Trappers and Mavericks were tied after five innings in both of those showdowns.
A Dax Roundy RBI double gave the Trappers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the opener. Kaden Deeter, Caden Jones and Lance Welch all scored once for Blacksmith Fork, while Roundy had two of his team’s three hits.
Welch and Brayden Schiess fared well on the mound for the Trappers. The duo limited Ridgeline to six hits, combined for 11 strikeouts and five walks.
Blacksmith Fork manufactured the winning run in Game 2 on a RBI single by Miles Hancock in the top of the sixth. The Trappers got a two-run double from Hudson Phelps in that game, and two hits apiece from Jaden Jones and Caden Jones, who tripled.
The Trappers plated all 10 of their runs in the first three innings during their mercy-rule triumph over Green Canyon. Kolmyn Foulger went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs for Blacksmith Fork, which got three runs and two hits from Schiess, a pair of hits and runs from Welch, and two RBIs from both Roundy and Phelps.
Andrew Neilson threw a one-hit shutout for the Trappers. Neilson only yielded one single, fanned eight, walked three and plunked two.
The Wolves (8-9) started their week by prevailing against Box Elder, 10-5. Monday’s game was knotted at 5-5 after five frames.
Caleb Petersen singled three times and drove in two runs for Green Canyon, which got doubles from Alex Atkinson, Reece Hansen and Tanner Watson. Hansen, who pitched all seven innings, also singled, walked three times and chipped in with a pair of RBIs and runs. Jaxon Berry drove in two runs for the Wolves, who got two hits from Atkinson.
Petersen had Green Canyon’s lone hit in Wednesday’s setback to Blacksmith Fork.
The Mavericks (9-11) only played twice this week as they were edged in the aforementioned twinbill against the Trappers.
Evan Webb scored Ridgeline’s only run in Game 1 on a single by Tanner Bernhardt. Drew Jensen had two of Ridgeline’s six hits, while Cam Bott struck out nine Trappers during his six innings on the bump.
Ridgeline fell behind 4-0 in the nightcap and clawed its way back to 4-4. Braxton Gill smacked a RBI double for the Mavericks, who got two runs, one hit and a RBI from Bernhardt, and two hits from Bean Jones.
Davis Fullmer accumulated nine strikeouts in his seven innings on the mound for the Mavericks.
The Grizzlies (11-7) never got on track offensively in their aforementioned loses to the Sox.
Chris Shopbell and Jake Egbert each drove in a run in the opener for Logan, which got runs from Cooper Pond and Boede Rudd. Kody Kirk had two of the Grizzlies’ three base knocks in Game 2.
The Titans (4-13) were defeated on the road by Bear River, 13-3, on Monday. The Bears broke the game open with four runs in the fourth and fifth frames.
Alex Carling singled twice and drove in a run for North Cache, while Cole Lundahl scored twice and Tanner Martin once.