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High school baseball: Taylorsville survives Herriman push 5-4 in first of 3-game 6A playoff series

As the playoffs begin and the level of competition rises, the Taylorsville Warriors have discovered and dubbed their secret advantage as “Tville magic.”

After a nervy start, Taylorsville harnessed every ounce of that magic Saturday to edge Herriman 5-4 in the first of a three-game series in the first round of the 6A baseball playoffs.

“Once the nerves kind of settled, it was definitely fun to watch their natural ability to come out and have fun and play some baseball,” coach Jentry Beckstead said.

Herriman took the early 1-0 lead in the first inning after an inauspicious start for Taylorsville pitcher Devin Beckstead. Beckstead hit two batters and walked a third before Herriman’s Trey Wiseman knocked in the opening run.

From there, Beckstead took charge and owned the plate on his way to six strikeouts on the day.

“First inning, I was struggling to find the zone,” Beckstead said. “Once I found it, I stuck there. Kept pounding the zone.”

Taylorsville regained the lead in the bottom of the first after an Andrew Cardenas double brought two runners home. Justin Morgan hit a double of his own just over the outstretched glove of Herriman’s center fielder in the bottom of the third to further pad the lead to 4-1.

The Warriors kept up the pressure behind four straight Beckstead strikeouts and a resilient effort to get out of a bases loaded situation in the top of the fifth to strand three Herriman players.

“Once he settled down, it was fun to watch him pitch. He throws all of his pitches for strikes and he competes and makes them swing the bat and put the ball in play,” Jentry Beckstead said. “He knows his team is going to help behind him.”

Outfielder Jakob Harrison answered the call and gave the Warriors some breathing room with a left-center triple before sneaking home to score while Herriman was preoccupied with a pickle situation between first and second base to make it 5-1.

“Speed kills so if I see a chance to take it, I take it. That’s my job on the team is to produce runs,” Harrison said. “I take pride in that.”

The top of the sixth nearly unraveled the Warriors’ effort as Beckstead wavered and Herriman scored three quick runs on an error, a single to center and a single just over second base to close the gap to 5-4.

“Those big innings have killed us all year long. So when those big innings start happening, it’s time to put your foot down and hold steady,” Jentry Beckstead said.

Morgan came in for relief on the mound and held off the potential Wiseman tying run at third base with a strikeout and an infield fly out to cap off the victory in the final inning.

“We’re always getting on each other just to stay up. We play for each other, this team. At the beginning of the year it was really tough, the chemistry wasn’t there. But as the year goes on, we’re getting those wins,” Harrison said. “The Tville magic is there. It’s coming back”