If you ask Jeff Stone how he did, he won't say much. He lets his numbers do the talking.
His numbers spoke in a big way in Friday's 5A state championship game at Serge B. Simmons Field.The soft-spoken, BYU bound lefthander fired a complete-game six-hitter, tied a school record with 15 strikeouts set by teammate Brandon Lyon earlier in the tournament, to lead the Warriors to a 10-2 victory over the Alta Hawks for their fourth state title in five years.
"He's a great player," Lyon said of Stone. "He doesn't bring it on himself. He's not cocky. He goes out and does his job."
Stone's season resume: A perfect 9-0 record, with three of those wins coming in the state tournament over Orem, Northridge and Alta, an ERA of 1.75, 91 strikeouts and 11 walks.
"We knew Monday that he would come back on Friday," Taylorsville coach Steve Cramblit said.
For Cramblitt, Stone's victory served as redemption as he was saving Stone for last year's final, but the Warriors were eliminated in the semifinals.
"I can't explain it," Stone said of the victory. It's what I've been waiting for . . . I have confidence in myself and have always worked hard to get to the top."
Stone struck out the side in the first, then his team, on a two-run double by Trent Swallow and an RBI single by Lyon, took the lead for good with four runs in the top of the second inning.
Stone struck out the side in the second, but lost the perfect game in the third on a hit batter. An inning later he lost the no-hitter and shutout as Alta's Jared Colton singled and later scored on an RBI single by Lance Jensen.
An error and an RBI single by Swallow aided T-Ville in its three-run third. The Warriors then scored two more in the sixth on RBI singles by Lyon and Justin Muramoto and one more in the seventh on a Franco Pezley sacrifice foul out.
"I think were a step behind after playing the first game," Alta coach Mike Littlewood said. "They (the Warriors) came out with Stone and had the utmost confidence they could win."
Swallow finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and Lyon finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Colton had two hits for the Hawks.
In semifinal action:
Alta 10, Highland 0: Alta's Jake Shortino went 4-for-4 with a homer and and RBI and teammates Mike Goff and Jared Colton had two hits each as the Hawks earned the berth into the state championship game.
Alta's four runs in the top of the first inning proved sufficient to bury the upstart Rams.
"Every game here was a championship game for us," Highland coach Leon Moyes said. "We came a long way. From fourth in region to third in state. That's not too shabby."
Alta starter Seth Johnson allowed just four hits and retired the last 13 hitters he faced in notching the complete-game victory.