Juab 22, Manti 15

KEARNS — In a game that had truly everything a baseball fan could possibly want, Juab had just a little more on Thursday afternoon.

The No. 1 Wasps outlasted their region rival, No. 4 Manti, in a wild 22-15 barnburner that featured five home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning, four lead changes, and the eighth-most combined runs in a reported single game in state history, per UHSAA record books.

“That was wild, absolutely,” Juab coach Josh Park said. “At the beginning of the game, I told the kids there’s gonna be a lot of runs scored, so buckle up.”

The game featured 39 total hits. Juab had the advantage, 23-16, using huge hitting streaks in the fourth and sixth innings to run away from the red-hot Templars.

Even in a game defined by its hits, and when both squads rifled their way through pitchers (six total, three per team), both teams also performed well from the pitching mound. Both bullpens totaled six strikeouts.

The two Region 14 foes had each gotten a win over the other during the regular season, and it was Manti initially that looked primed to run away with it again. Starting things off with a three-RBI double from senior Troy Madsen, the Templars quickly built a lead.

Juab sophomore Britton Keisel led off the Wasps’ batting lineup with a single-RBI home run, but Manti pitcher Kayson Bailey kept the opponent at bay over the first two innings. Meanwhile, the Templars built up a 7-1 lead by the top of the third, and the red-clad dugout was in a frenzy.

Whatever shock befell the Wasps from the quick deficit, Manti felt it all the more when Juab spent just one inning to rack up five hits and six RBI to tie up the score.

In the fourth inning, the Wasps went even further to remind people just how strong they were by piling on another six runs to take a 13-7 lead, including a three-RBI home run from senior Wyatt Payton.

All the momentum ran on Juab’s side after Manti struck out of the top of the fifth inning, only closing the gap to 13-8 on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Tazj Hill. The Templars, however, responded in kind, holding Juab to just a single run.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Templars mounted a rally like no other, unleashing a streak of six straight hits, including a three-RBI home run by Bailey. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Templars had a late lead, 15-14.

And as it turned out, Juab clearly wasn’t fazed by it. The Wasps responded to the rally by turning around and rolling off eight runs at the bottom of the inning to run away with it. Payton, already with a home run, capped it off with the play of the game as he cracked a grand slam over the left fielder’s outstretched glove to take an 18-15 lead.

“The message (after Manti’s first lead) to take it one bat at a time and to just keep getting on bases,” Coach Park said. “The kids did a great job of doing just that.”

The win advanced Juab to the final game of the winner’s bracket. Prior to this year, the Wasps had fallen in the winner’s bracket semifinals in two straight seasons.

Carbon 10, Canyon View 0 (5 innings)

 The No. 2 Carbon Dinos were all smiles in the huddle as the clock nearly reached 10 p.m. on a Thursday night.

They had plenty of reasons to be. Senior pitcher Wyatt Falk had just pitched a no-hitter, and the Dinos had just run-ruled region rival No. 3 Canyon View out of the winner’s bracket, 10-0 in five innings. Falk not only tossed seven strikeouts, he was just a single walk in the fifth inning shy of a perfect game.

Credit to the Dinos for finishing a game quickly after it started over an hour late.

“I think it was our preparation all week,” Carbon coach Rob Smith said. “We knew what we had going in. We had a pretty good scouting report on them from the three games we played against them previously. You gotta hand it to (Wyatt). He goes out and throws a no-hitter. What else can you say about that?”

Much of the damage was done early by the Dinos, as they put up six runs in the bottom of the second inning to take a commanding 8-0 lead before the Falcons had even managed to exhaust their batting order. The Dinos became masters of the two-RBI single hit, scoring with it three times in the game.

After two scoreless innings, Falk lost his bid at a perfect when he walked Canyon View senior Myles Topham just before striking out the next batter for what would be the Falcons’ final time at bat.

After two strikeouts, Carbon came through with yet another two-RBI single, this time from junior Maizen Prichard, to deliver the victory. Notably after the prior game lasted nearly three hours, Carbon had this one done in less than two.

One of the assistant coaches in the Carbon huddle after the game could be heard telling the players that dinner was on him tonight, but Smith remind the team of the task ahead of them tomorrow, namely No. 1 Juab.

“We’re not done,” Smith said. “We’ve got a goal, and we’re here to reach it. We’ve got to beat everybody whether it’s the No. 1 seed or the No. 3 seed. We’re here to do it.”