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High school baseball: Juan Diego picks up another upset victory, advances to 3A state championship

SHARE High school baseball: Juan Diego picks up another upset victory, advances to 3A state championship

Juan Diego’s Malik Harris reacts to a strike out during a 3A high school baseball game against Carbon at UCCU Ballpark in Orem, Utah on Friday, May 13, 2022.

Mengshin Lin, Deseret News

No. 7 Juan Diego did it again, taking down another higher seeded squad, beating No. 4 Carbon Friday night to advance to the 3A state championship game. The Soaring Eagle put on an offensive clinic, cruising past the Dinos 14-6. 

The Soaring Eagle entered Friday’s contest against the Dinos riding high after taking down No. 2 Canyon View and No. 3 American Leadership Academy to reach the semifinal. Carbon had earned a tournament upset of their own, toppling No. 1 Juab Thursday before its bout with Juan Diego. 

“We set a goal at the beginning of the year to make it to the championship game,” Juan Diego head coach Taylor Berg said. “We believe in what we are doing no matter who we are playing.”

Berg’s team showed more than belief on the field Friday evening, pummeling Carbon to punch its ticket to Saturday’s state title game. 

After a scoreless first, both squads’ offenses exploded, combining for nine runs in the second and a one-point Dino lead. The Soaring Eagle kept their bats active in the next three innings, adding 10 more runs to the board. Carbon had no answer, giving up 8 hits and going through five different pitchers from the third inning through the fifth. 

“They’ve been buying in on stuff we’ve been trying to preach all year,” Berg said. “We’re starting to see the fruits of that trust. Scoring every inning is something we put a lot of pride in.

“One through nine should be able to manufacture runs and we really believe that. We’re starting to put it together. Any way we can, we’re trying to get on base.”

Juan Diego designated hitter Andrew Lombana led the Soaring Eagle offense with six RBI, including a three-run shot that gave his team a 7-5 lead in the third. 

Carbon only scored once after the two schools’ big second inning.

“They (Carbon) are a really good club,” Berg said . “They’re scrappy and they just don’t give up. So we expected a dog fight and we got that.

“We were fortunate to get a few barrels and make a couple plays later in the game. But they’re a really good ball club. They made a run last year too and so we knew what to expect and didn’t quit until the last out. (We’re) fortunate to get a win.”

For the second season in a row, Carbon is going to have to win three consecutive games on the final day of the season in order to win a state championship. The Dinos nearly did just that last year, falling to Grantsville in Game 2 of the 2021 final. 

Carbon will meet American Leadership Academy tomorrow morning with a chance to join Juan Diego in the state championship. The Eagles defeated Juab 6-5 late Friday night to advance to the early Saturday matchup. 

ALA used a three-run seventh against the Wasps to take its first lead since the third and pick up the comeback victory. The school’s dramatic triumph kept the Eagles alive in the double elimination tournament setting up their meeting with the Dinos. 

Juan Diego will face the winner of Carbon and ALA Saturday afternoon starting at 12:30 pm.