After losing its first game of the 4A bracket on Monday, Crimson Cliffs needed a rally of wins against Ridgeline, Green Canyon, Dixie twice and Snow Canyon twice to take the back-to-back 4A title.
The Mustangs went on a tear through the bracket, winning every game needed so far, including Friday’s game against Snow Canyon 9-2 to move within one win of the championship.
Crimson Cliffs head coach Justin Abbott made sure his boys were not letting the early postseason loss affect them mentally, which has helped result in its playoff run.
“We didn’t put any kind of pressure on it,” said Abbott. “We didn’t talk about it; I didn’t think we needed to because we knew what was in front of us. It was an afterthought. It happened and was over with.
“It’s kind of like what we talked about, one pitch at a time. If you didn’t get your pitch and they call it a strike, so what. There’s nothing we can do about it now and there was nothing you could do about Monday when it was over. We haven’t put a whole lot of emphasis on it. We just have to go play it one pitch and one game at a time.”
The Mustangs put their mark on the game early Friday, taking a 3-0 lead after Brexten Starley’s homerun in the third inning.
However, Snow Canyon had made a multi-run comeback in every previous playoff game, so when the Warriors rallied for two runs in the fourth, the game was far from over.
But Crimson Cliffs did not want history to repeat. The Mustangs started the fifth inning with consistent hitting to get multiple players on base to set up teammates for RBIs.
“We’ve been talking about quality at-bats all week,” said Abbott. “We’ve just been talking about all week that it’s a hard-hit ball, and we’re not getting uncomfortable with pitches that we don’t like to hit. “We stayed disciplined enough to get some guys on base and have some big two-out RBIs.”
Crimson Cliffs lead hitter Jayger Baldwin came up big, hitting two of his teammates home in the fifth for a four-run inning and 7-2 lead.
Baldwin got on base on every at-bat and ended the game with four RBIs.
“All I want to do is get on first base so I can give my teammates opportunities to get RBIs,” said Baldwin.
“Stayed composed, lots of confidence, breathing and we just knew we could do it. We are playing with a lot of confidence right now, and after that Green Canyon game we knew we were getting to this spot.”
Abbott says one of Baldwin’s biggest strengths is his mentality.
“He’s so locked in. It doesn’t matter what happens, he is the most positive kid I’ve ever been around. Even if he doesn’t do good you couldn’t tell,” said Abbott.
The Mustangs will have a shot to win the series, and the state title, at 12 p.m. on Saturday.