A baseball team comprised entirely of recent Ridgeline and Mountain Crest graduates are only two wins away from achieving their primary goal.
The Cache Valley Sox immediately bounced back from a 2-0 first-inning deficit and earned a 7-3 victory over Herriman in the winner’s bracket of the Utah U19 Legion State Championships on Monday night at Pleasant Grove High School.
Cache Valley, the No. 1 seed, will now square off against No. 14 Farmington on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for a spot in Wednesday’s championship game. Additionally, the Sox are now guaranteed to finish in the top three at the annual tournament.
Meanwhile, two other local teams were eliminated from the tournament on Monday. For the second time in as many games, No. 9 Blacksmith Fork was outpointed in a 4-3 nailbiter — this time against No. 3 Lone Peak — while No. 15 Logan fell to No. 5 Stansbury, 6-0.
The Trappers and Grizzlies finished in a four-way tied for ninth place in the tourney, which started with 35 teams.
The top-seeded Sox were undaunted by their aforementioned deficit as they put a four-spot on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first to take the lead for good. Cache Valley (26-2 against legion opponents) scored those four runs on four hits and a walk.
Tadon Burbank came through with a huge two-RBI triple for the final two runs of the frame. The Sox plated their first run on a Jace Ward groundout and their second on a Kyler Hansen single.
Cache Valley’s advantage ballooned to 6-2 in the bottom of the third on a Herriman error that allowed Kade Hansen and Kyler Hansen to cross home plate. Caleb Archibald provided the exclamation point offensively with a solo homer over the fence in left.
Kade Hansen did a superb job of settling down on the mound after No. 4 Herriman scored twice in the visitor’s half of the first. The double play turned by shortstop Kyler Hansen and second baseman Austin Pond helped prevent Herriman from adding to its lead.
The 105-pitch count prevented Kade Hansen from going the distance on the bump. The southpaw scattered eight hits — all singles — in six and two-thirds innings, struck out 10 and only issued a pair of free passes.
“Kade Hansen threw an absolute gem through six and two-thirds innings,” CV coach Alex Hansen said. “Hayden Simper came in to close things out. We got timely two-out hitting from Kyler Hansen and Tadon Burbank to keep tacking on runs, and Caleb Archibald with a home run to put the (game) out of reach. Great overall team effort.”
Kade Hansen also aided his own cause by singling, walking twice and scoring two runs. Kyler Hansen contributed with a pair of runs and hits, and the aforementioned RBI.
A two-out triple in the bottom of the sixth ended up being the difference for Lone Peak. Neither team led by more than one run in the elimination game.
Blacksmith Fork (17-13) took a 1-0 lead on a Caden Jones single in the top of the first before Lone Peak answered with two runs of its own.
The Trappers pulled even at 2-2 one inning later on a Hudson Phelps double, but Lone Peak manufactured a run in the home half of the second to retake the lead.
Blacksmith Fork once again knotted things up, this time on a Kaden Deeter single in the fourth frame. Deeter finished with two hits, one run and a RBI for the Trappers, who got three hits — one a double — and two runs from Dax Roundy, who shined during the tournament.
Jaden Jones pitched all six innings for the Trappers, scattered eight base knocks, struck out three and walked none. Blacksmith Fork finished with a 9-8 edge in hits, but stranded eight base runners — seven in scoring position — to Lone Peak’s four.
Lone Peak beat No. 7 Taylorsville, 6-2, in another elimination contest later in the day.
Stansbury put up two runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back against Logan (14-10).
Three Stansbury pitchers teamed up to limit Logan to a pair of hits — both singles by lead-off batter Vincent Rohrer. Rohrer was stranded at third base in the fourth inning and teammate Chris Shopbell at second in the seventh.
Nic Egbert pitched the first four and two-thirds innings for the Grizzlies, while Jaxon Arthur retired all four Stallions he faced. Egbert, who played well this summer, gave up nine hits, struck out four, walked two and plunked two.
“I think this summer we showed a ton of growth and I think it showed ... our own players and other teams what we can be capable of,” LHS coach Britton Coil said.
“I just encouraged the boys after the game to build off of this summer and it really showed them what they are capable of and, if they’re willing to put in some more work, there’s a lot of little things we can do to become a much better team. But it’s been a good summer.”
Stansbury fended off elimination later in the day with a 10-7 triumph over No. 11 Hurricane.
Cache Valley survived a stiff challenge from Blacksmith Fork in a winner’s bracket game, 4-3, last Saturday at Hyrum. Meanwhile, Logan was bounced from the winner’s bracket by Bountiful, which overcame deficit of 5-2 and 6-3 to prevail 8-6 in Pleasant Grove.
The Sox scored twice in the home half of the fourth to rally past the Trappers. Cache Valley pulled even on a Burbank RBI triple. Burbank ended up scoring the go-ahead run with two outs on a pitch in the dirt.
It was a scoreless contest until the Sox plated two runs on three hits and a walk in the bottom of the third. Cooper Murphy scored on a Daxton Purser single, and Simper stole home for the second run. Purser did a good job of staying in a rundown long enough to allow the speedy Simper to cross home plate.
To their credit, the Trappers were undaunted as they immediately bounced back by putting a three-spot on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Caden Jones and Welch set the tone, and a grounder by Jaden Jones resulted in a pair of runs — instead of one — thanks to a Cache Valley throwing error. Blacksmith Fork then took a 3-2 advantage on a well-executed sacrifice bunt by Miles Hancock.
“We knew going in it would (be a tough game) and if you’d expect anything different, you’re kidding yourself,” Alex Hansen said. “At this stage in the state tournament, every team’s good and have great (pitching) arms. I mean, teams are here for a reason and, yeah, the Trappers have been hot, and we knew we had to come out and try to prepare our boys for a dogfight. That’s exactly what we talked about.”
Archibald retired the side in the top of the seventh in another clutch, complete-game pitching performance. Archibald allowed six hits, struck out 11 and issued three free passes.
Welch pitched all six innings for Blacksmith Fork and limited a potent Cache Valley lineup to five hits. The southpaw fanned six, walked four and plunked one. He held the Sox hitless in three innings.
“We did give them two runs without them hitting the ball and that’s the one thing we stress is we can’t give runs up without the other team earning them, and we did that twice,” BF coach Stephen Hansen said. “But other than that, we played a great ballgame. Lance pitched well, we played good defense, we hit the ball well. It was a well-played baseball game and, as a team, we got better today.”
Roundy singled twice for the Trappers, while Kolmyn Foulger belted a double to the fence in left. Purser singled twice for the Sox, while Simper and Kade Hansen both walked twice.
A detailed story on this intra-valley showdown ran online at hjnews.com.
As for the Grizzlies, they scored five of their runs in the top of the fourth. Kellen Roper had three of the Grizzlies’ five hits and three of their six RBIs. Vincent Rohrer singled twice, scored a run and drove in another for Logan, while Jack Fjeldsted chipped in with a pair of runs and walks and a RBI.