OGDEN — The third time was a charm. After dropping two regular-season games to Layton, Northridge beat its Region 1 rivals 2-1 when it counted most — in an elimination game of the playoffs. The Knights did so in dramatic fashion.

It is one of the most exciting moments in all of sports: a play at the plate. It is only magnified when it is the last play of the game and the outcome hangs in the balance. With Layton trailing by one, and in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, the fans at Ogden's Lindquist Field were treated to such a play.

Taylor Bearnson drew a walk to lead off the Lancers' half of the seventh. Nick O'Neal was inserted to pinch-run because of his speed. He was sacrificed to second by Bryson Hayward. Following a strikeout to get the second out, Blake Jones hit a line-drive to right field. The Knights' Eric Belnap charged the ball and came up firing. Catcher Dave Vigeant fielded the rifle and applied the tag to O'Neal. Game over. Knights win.

Players and coaches will say that it is difficult to beat the same team three times in a row, Northridge proved that theory true. Not only had the Lancers topped the Knights in both games earlier in the season, they did it against the staff ace, Jeff LeHosky. "They beat me twice already, so I needed to return the favor," said LeHosky.

"I was a little worried about the fact he lost to them both times, but he came to me earlier in the week and said he really wanted the ball," said Northridge coach Erik Thompson. It turned out to be a great decision.

All game LeHosky kept a good-hitting lineup off balance. He allowed only four hits while striking out seven. "My curve ball was really working, and I was hitting most of my spots with my fastball," said the hurler. "I only made a couple of mistakes, but when I did, my defense made up for it."

According to coach Thompson, that has been the Knights key to success this season: "Who would think you could beat a team like Layton 2-1? We haven't hit the ball that well all season, but our defense has kept us in it."

The Knights held the high-scoring Lancers — a team that averaged nearly eight runs a game — to only one run. Blake Jones had an RBI single in the fifth inning to produce their only score.

For Northridge, Tyson Nath had the game's only extra-base hit in the top of the sixth when he hit an RBI double. He would later score on a sacrifice-fly by Josiah Bond to give the Knights their 2-1 lead and set up the exciting play in the seventh.

"That's what the playoffs are all about. I'm proud of our team and how they responded to some adversity," Thompson said. "We fell behind, but our kids stayed mentally positive."

With the win, Northridge moves on to face Bingham today at 1:30 p.m. while Layton is eliminated from the tournament.

In other 5A playoff games:

BINGHAM 8, COTTONWOOD 3: Jeff McDonald threw a complete-game three-hitter for the Miners to keep their season alive. Zach Druce drove in three runs, and Tyler Wartman picked up two RBIs. The Miners used big innings in the third and fourth to continue their dominance over the Colts.

RIVERTON 7, BRIGHTON 3: Ryan Lucero kept the Bengals at bay in a strong pitching performance. He scattered seven hits and allowed only three runs. Offensively, the Silverwolves were led by Tyler Schick's 2-for-3, three-RBI performance and were aided by AJ Rucker's three RBIs. It was Riverton's third win of the year over Brighton.

KEARNS 5, DAVIS 4: Andy Derksen of Kearns doubled in the bottom of the eleventh inning. He advanced to third on a sacrifice fly on the second out of the inning. The Darts then decided to walk to load the bases, but the plan backfired. Andy Wrigley picked up the game-winning RBI by getting hit by a pitch as the Cougars advance in the tournament.