After suffering multiple heartbreaking losses the past two years to region foe Jordan, the Timpanogos Timberwolves came into Wednesday’s Region 8 road matchup looking for a bit of revenge.
What they found was a dominating performance on the mound, helping close the gap between first and second place in the region standings.
Junior pitcher Chase Riggs struck out five, only allowed six hits and helped Timpanogos knock off the Beetdiggers 6-1, setting up an important rematch on Friday to determine who takes the season series.
“I was just thinking about throwing strikes the whole time,” Riggs said. “The main thing that I have been struggling with has been walking guys, so I just wanted to throw strikes and let our defense do the work.”
After going down in order in the first inning, the Timberwolves offense picked things up in the second.
Junior Kayden Harding got things going after reaching second on an error, and senior Tanner Morgan finished the deal with a ground ball to center field, scoring Harding. It was one of Morgan’s team-high three RBIs.
The hosts were able to cut the lead in half when junior Boston Williams crossed home plate on a well-hit ball by senior Bridger Beacham. Unfortunately for the Beetdiggers, that was as close as they would get.
A huge third inning saw the Timberwolves plate three runs and take control of the game. The inning started with junior Luke Livingston reaching base on an error, and then advancing to third on a base hit by junior Brighton Tate.
With runners on second and third after a wild pitch, senior Billy Bird grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Livingston and advancing Tate to third.
Tate scored on the next at-bat when a wild pitch flew past the Jordan catcher.
Morgan and Tyler Hunter would each record RBIs in the next at-bats before Jordan was able to record the third and final out of the inning. By the time it ended, seven Timpanogos players came to the plate.
From there, it was all Riggs, as the junior pitcher retired 15 of the final 19 batters he faced.
“I felt like my curveball started to work, and then I was able to go to my fastball and get into a nice rhythm,” Riggs said.
During the stretch, Riggs only allowed two hits, struck out five and put the visitors in complete control to come away with the victory.
“The wind blowing made it hard, but it is a pitcher’s advantage. Every ball is hung up in the air, but he just kept throwing strikes,” said Timpanogos coach Kim Nelson.
It’s been a busy month for the Timberwolves, as cancellations from weather have caused adjustments to the original schedule.
Since the month of April began, Timpanogos has played seven games, all against region foes, and recorded a 4-3 record.
“It’s been a hard couple of weeks,” said Nelson. “Playing Orem, Lehi and Jordan, those are three teams that are somewhere in the top six or seven in the state, and we get them almost in succession.”
Getting back into a rhythm after numerous weather-related cancellations will be key as the state tournament starts in just over a month.
For Nelson, another key would also include returning to their early season success in the batter’s box.
“We started out the season hitting better, but our hitting has started to drop off a little bit. I know we are better hitters that what we have done the last few games,” said Nelson.
“I don’t think we are in a stride where we would feel comfortable in, because I know that we can do better.”
The next chance to get better for Timpanogos comes Friday on their home field. A rematch against Jordan for the season series, and potentially a chance to close in on a region championship, has all the attention of Riggs and his Timpanogos teammates.
“Friday is a huge game, maybe a region championship game,” Riggs said. “It’s a huge win to battle back and now try to win the series on Friday.”