It came down to the final inning of the final game, but the Bear River baseball team found a way to survive and advance in the southern Utah heat.
The Bears took a three-game series at Crimson Cliffs by the slimmest of margins, winning 7-6 late Friday after losing by the same score earlier in the day.
Bear River took the early advantage on Thursday night with a 6-2 win, but the Mustangs were able to force a decisive game 3 on Friday.
On Thursday, Bear River led 3-0 after three innings and added insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings to take the early lead in the series. Alec Callister went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Easton Lish and Ashton Harrow each had two hits in four tries.
Harrow also picked up the win in pitching a complete game.
Looking for the sweep on Friday morning, the Bears had a 3-2 lead after two innings, but the Mustangs responded with two runs each in the third and fourth, and one more in the fifth that proved to be just enough to force a third game.
Lish and Garrison Marble each had two hits for Bear River, while Hunter Harrow took the loss on the mound.
The Friday afternoon rematch was another nail-biter. Crimson Cliffs led 6-5 heading into the final inning, but the Bears’ small-ball tactics got them two runs in the top of the seventh with three successful bunts in a row.
A bunt by Jarett Giles scored Alec Callister in the top of the seventh inning to provide the final margin and send the Bears to the championship bracket this week at Salt Lake Community College.
Hunter Smoot went 3-for-5 at the plate, while Giles and Hunter Harrow had two hits apiece. Giles drove in three runs and also pitched the seventh inning in relief of Derek Dean, holding the hosts scoreless to preserve the win.
The Bears were the only road team in the tournament to survive the regional round. The win earned them a Monday afternoon showdown with No. 1 overall seed Desert Hills – a game that ended after the Leader went to press. Visit www.tremontonleader.com for updates.