South Sevier won its eighth state baseball championship on Saturday afternoon, beating Parowan 14-12 in a back-and-forth battle that featured six lead changes.
The day started off with Parowan and Kanab battling for the right to play in the championship game.
The Rams took down the Cowboys 11-8 as Shaydon Benson and Treven Yardley were once again the stars for Parowan.
Between the two games, the dynamic duo was able to get on base 15 times in 19 plate appearances.
Then in the championship, South Sevier and Parowan came out firing as both teams scored in the first inning (South Sevier scored twice), and the offenses continued to roll throughout the game.
Down 3-2 in the bottom half of the second, South Sevier was able to first tie up the game and then score four more runs with two outs to grab a 7-3 lead.
After a scoreless third inning, Parowan tied the game before South Sevier could record a single out.
This appeared to be the start of a monster inning for the road team, but after finally recording an out, Parowan hit a hard grounder into second base.
Payson Mitchell bobbled the ball, but he was able to gather it and initiate a double-play through Ridge Tebbs, which ended the inning and preserved a tie game.
“With a bobble, I usually have to go to first, but the ball was smoked so I knew I had time,” Mitchell said.
“I was quick to toss it to Ridge and (he) did a great job getting it first. It set a good momentum for us the rest of the game.”
Eventually, Parowan built a small lead, taking a 10-8 advantage into the bottom of the sixth inning.
That is when the South Sevier offense exploded to win the championship.
Kanyon Oakerlund, Tyson Robb and Hagun Morrell all got on base to start the inning and quickly cut the deficit in half.
Riley Barney hit a double down the left field line to tie the game and swing momentum towards the South Sevier side.
The next at-bat, with a runner on third base, Riley Barney hit a hard ball straight to the shortstop, who lasered a throw home for a play at the plate.
“I knew I had to put my wheels on and make it there. When I got to the plate, I saw the ball coming and I reached for the bag and I got the score,” said Morrell, who stood up and let out a massive roar toward the South Sevier supporters and dugout.
He then continued on celebrating with his teammates.
“Our dugout is insane. It is the best I have ever been a part of,” he said. “They are always positive and all good teammates.”
At that point South Sevier had the lead for good at 11-10, but it added three more runs before the bottom of the sixth ended to make it 14-10 — two came on a base hit from Keagan Heath — and was three defensive outs away from their first state championship since 2002.
The top of Parowan’s order got things rolling in the top of the seventh as Benson and Yardley crossed home plate, but it wasn’t enough as the game closed on a groundout to Tebbs.
South Sevier took home the title despite not having a player who had played deep into the state tournament and having lost four of their last five playoff games entering the tournament, as well as a year to COVID-19.
But a resilient group found a way to come together and build something special.
“Kanab had us down, we had to battle with Parowan yesterday and today. Credit to them, they wouldn’t go away, but our boys are fighters,” said South Sevier coach Eric Baker.
“Our boys our fighters and I am so proud of them. They don’t quit either. They find a way to fight adversity and come out on top.”