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T-ville routs Copper Hills in Legion title game

Championship was their fifth in 8 years

SHARE T-ville routs Copper Hills in Legion title game

KEARNS — The battle for first and second place in the American Legion baseball tournament wasn't much of a battle Saturday, as undefeated Taylorsville dumped Copper Hills 16-7 at Oquirrh Park in Kearns.

The win gave Taylorsville its fifth American Legion title in eight years.

Taylorsville's strike began in the top of the first, when first batter Andy Swanson swung at the first pitch and drove the ball to center field for a double. Second baseman Swanson advanced to third base after shortstop Schafer Magana blooped a single to right. Pitcher Mike Lewis then drove in the first two runs of the game with a double to right center. Two batters later, Lewis tagged up and crossed the plate on third baseman Chris Mower's fly-out to center field.

But the most damage to Copper Hills was done in the top of the fifth, when Swanson began a two-out Taylorsville rally. Swanson hit down the left-field line for a double, knocking in catcher Kellen Carsey, and Magana brought in two after Copper Hills shortstop Drew Larsen's throw to first sailed high and away from first baseman Kevin Martinez. Taylorsville left fielder Weston Reynolds also drove in a run, marking a four-run fifth.

Copper Hills didn't get on the board until the bottom of the third, when third baseman Derek Bawden and catcher Tyler Baldwin both drew back-to-back singles to open the bottom half of the inning. Following a pitch to teammate Reggie Woods, Bawden slid into third base safely after Taylorsville second baseman Swanson caught him in the middle of the basepath. Bawden then crossed the plate on a one-out sacrifice from second baseman T Ray Garn.

Down 16-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Copper Hills rallied on a one-out base on balls to right fielder JD Westphal. After Larsen singled to left, Westphal crossed the plate on a wild pitch, and Larsen came home on a two-out hit from Bawden, cutting Taylorsville's lead 16-7.

Taylorsville earned its fifth American Legion title in eight years after Woods lined to Magana to end the game.

Taylorsville head coach Travis Ewing said the win came a little easier knowing of Copper Hills' struggle to get through the loser's bracket.

"We knew they weren't going to have a lot of depth left," Ewing said. "We were able to throw some very good pitching performances and not have to spend a lot of hours (playing).

"They come out and compete and they're talented," Ewing added. "All I try and do is not get in their way."

Both Taylorsville and Copper Hills advance to the American Legion Western Regionals at Lindquist Field in Ogden on Thursday, when they meet the state champions of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively. Taylorsville will play first at 5 p.m., and Copper Hills will follow.

"I really think we can do something in this regional," Ewing said. "This is a really talented team."

Game notes: Taylorsville pitcher Matt Shepherd, who went 2-4 with a home run in the top of the sixth, was awarded the tournament's Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Pitcher. Copper Hills' Tyson Olson, who went 11-22 in the tournament was awarded the Leading Hitter.