Coaches Gean Plaga of West and Bill Siebenberg of Murray were joking that the Region 6 matchup between the Panthers and Spartans in Wednesday's quarterfinals of the 3A state prep baseball playoffs would be, in Siebenberg's words, "a good, old-fashioned slugfest."
Little did they know that . . . final score: Murray 18, West 8.
"It was one of those games where pitching wasn't an issue," said Siebenberg, whose team scored three runs in five different innings and put the 10-run rule to good use in the top of the seventh at BYU Cougar Field. "Murray and West - we play each other so often and we know each other so well that the game was just like another region game, except the consequences were bigger."
As the only team undefeated through the first three days of the 3A tournament,Murray is the team to beat - make that the team to beat twice in the double-elimination format - and the Spartans become the unofficial hosts as the 3A playoffs join the 4A games at Ken Price Park, which is Murray's home field.
Not that the Region 6-champion Spartans have minded playing elsewhere so far, having defeated 1988 titlist Spanish Fork Monday, Region 5 champion Ogden Tuesday, and league foe West Wednesday.
Murray faces Spanish Fork again Thursday - a rematch of last year's title contest. The Spartans have won two straight from the Dons this year.
Wednesday's heroics were scattered - Dave Madsen sent a two-run shot over the fence - and the 390-feet sign - in center field in the first inning. Murray's Brad Martin made good in a relatively rare appearance with two RBI, while catcher Tom Gourdin spent some time at the plate as well as behind it and responded with a two-run double.
West threatened only once, with a five-run second tying the score at 6-all. Three three-run Spartan innings broke it open.
Besides the Murray-Spanish Fork game at 2 p.m., Ogden faced West at 11:30 a.m. Thursday's games originally were scheduled for afternoon and evening starting times but were moved to late-morning and early afternoon to avoid conflict with graduations for several of the schools.
Spanish Fork 12, Pine View 6
After picking up a complete-game one-hit victory Tuesday, Jeff Slye returned to mound Wednesday in three-plus innings of relief for his second win in as many days. Down 6-5 with two out in the fifth, Shane Marshall and Scott Vest hit RBI singles and Randy Reid clubbed a two-run homer over center for Spanish Fork's four-run inning. And in the sixth, the Dons added three more, with the big blow being Randy Hess' two-run triple.
Ogden 5, Springville 2
Late-inning relief - working out of bases-loaded-and-one-out-jams - aided the Tigers and winning starter Rob Lucero. Aaron Price came on in the sixth to knock down a hard smash for a force at home for the second out, with a force-out at second ending the inning. Reliever Ed Quinney (two RBI, too) halted a similar threat in the seventh by forcing a pair of fly balls.
Meanwhile, Springville couldn't score runs despite collecting nine hits - including six for extra bases.
The Red Devils' Scott Johnson went three-for- three with two doubles and a triple, while Ryan Hall hit a solo homer.