After being postponed three days due to rain, the Automotive League baseball state championship game was played Tuesday afternoon at Ken Price Park with hardly a cloud in the sky. And Sky led Skyline to the title.
Skyline pitcher Sky Grant gave up just four hits while striking out 10 to lead the Eagles to a 4-1 victory over Viewmont. It marked the second consecutive year the Vikings have finished as the bridesmaid in the state Automotive tourney."I felt strong," said Grant, who goes by his given middle name, which really is Sky. "I had so much adrenalin out there, I knew I could finish the game."
Grant, who is a 16-year-old junior-to-be at Skyline, was named the Most Valuable Player of the 16-team tournament. He started three games, including the title contest, earning complete-game victories (seven innngs) in each case. He also made a two-inning relief appearance, earning the win in that game as well, for a 4-0 record in the tournament.
"Sky Grant is a tremendous pitcher," Skyline coach Randy White said.
The Eagles had their hands full with Viewmont ace Troy Beckman on the mound. Beckman had been effective all year long and was 3-0 during the state tournament, including a victory over Skyline a week earlier, prior to the championship game.
With two outs in the top of the third, Skyline's Andy Dent reached base on a Viewmont throwing error. The error proved costly as the next batter, Wally Madsen, drove the ball over the 350-foot sign in center field, giving Skyline a 2-0 lead.
Skyline padded its lead in the fourth with runs on a bases loaded walk and a bases loaded hit batsman.
Viewmont's lone run of the game came with two outs in the bottom of the fifth when Jake Fisher scored from third on Grant's balk.
Viewmont had two runners aboard with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Grant struck out the final two Viking batters to finish the game.
"We weren't sharp today, for whatever reasons," Viewmont coach Roger Farnsworth said. "Skyline played better baseball than we did. A couple of walks, a couple of errors and that was the ballgame."
Skyline, which came from behind in a number of its tournament victories, had to go through the losers' bracket and beat Viewmont twice in a row (Saturday and Tuesday) to claim its first-ever Automotive state crown.
Both teams will represent Utah in Southern California next month in the Mickey Mantle Regional Tournament.