The storyline in 5A baseball last week was Maple Mountain’s stunning elimination of top seed Spanish Fork in the third round best-of-three series.
Any momentum Maple Mountain generated in that series, however, was quickly squashed by Lehi 48 hours later.
No. 2 seed Lehi made quick work of Maple Mountain in the first of four 5A state tournament winners bracket games at UVU on Monday as Jackson Brousseau was in complete control on the mound in leading his team to the 10-0 win in five innings.
Brousseau struck out five batters and only allowed two hits to No. 22 seed Maple Mountain.
“Spanish was a great team this year, but Maple Mountain did their job, they went out and won a game so you have to respect them. They were a hot team. Came here to play our best and came out with the win,” said Brousseau.
For Lehi, it always believed it was the best team in 5A regardless of what the RPI rankings said, so Spanish Fork’s elimination didn’t necessarily change anything ahead of the double-elimination championship rounds, just who the Pioneers played.
“Especially in the tournament, it’s whoever gets hot; they beat Spanish and we knew they were going to come in hot and fortunately we had a good pitcher on the mound and we got on them early,” said Lehi coach Jason Ingersoll.
Lehi put pressure on Maple Mountain early, scoring three runs in each of the first two innings while adding four more in the third to push the lead to 10 runs. The key was patience at the plate. Lehi generated eight walks at the plate to go along with its seven hits.
Maple Mountain ended up using four pitchers as it tried to save arms for what it hopes is a run back through the one-loss bracket beginning on Tuesday.
While higher-seeded Lehi had no problem advancing on Monday, not all of the other higher-seeded teams were so fortunate.
No. 10 Bountiful beat No. 9 Orem 8-5 after building a big leading and then hanging on, while No. 13 Wasatch used a huge ninth inning to rally past No. 3 Jordan 9-7.
In the nightcap, No. 4 Olympus provided a bit of order to the third-base dugout as it rallied past No. 12 Salem Hills for the 9-5 win.
Wasatch and Olympus square off in a winners bracket game on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., followed by another winners bracket game between Lehi and Bountiful at 7 p.m.
Before that, Jordan and Salem Hills square off in an elimination game at 11 a.m. followed by Maple Mountain vs. Orem.
In the second game of the day at UVU, Bountiful jumped all over Orem with a five-run first inning as Kaisan Averett provided the big hit with a bases-clearing triple. The Redhawks then tacked on two more runs in the third inning and looked like they’d cruise to the next round.
Orem, however, showed great resiliency fighting back with three runs in the fifth and then two more in the sixth. Orem’s productive bats throughout the game finally chased Bountiful starter Truman Duryea in the sixth inning as he reached his 110 pitch count.
Reliever Tavis Danner inherited one base runner and then found himself in immediate trouble after walking and hitting the first batter he faced, loading the bases with Orem’s tying run standing at second base. He got out of the jam by getting a fly out to center field and then sat the Tigers down in order in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of strikeouts to earn the save and seal the victory.
Averett finished the day going 3 for 3 with five RBIs for Bountiful.
Wasatch’s win over Jordan featured some wild momentum swings in the latter innings. It started with Jordan scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 7-4 lead.
Cole Kershaw and Cade Nalder both doubled in the inning, while Colton Austin got the big hit two-run triple.
Jordan starter Evan Atkinson reached his pitch count after the sixth inning, and Wasatch jumped all over the pitching change, scoring five runs of its own to snag the 9-7 lead.
Chett Wilson provided the big hit for the Wasps, a two-out, two-run triple that gave his team the 9-7 lead. Wasatch starter Jackson Bolender shut things down in the bottom of the seventh inning aided by a double play as the Wasps marched on in the winners bracket.
Olympus secured the last spot in the 5A winners bracket, but had to overcome a slow start to do so. After falling behind 3-0 through three innings, it scored three runs in the bottom of the third to tie it 3-3 and then added four more in the fourth inning for a 7-3 lead it never relinquished.
Ashton Johnson pitched five innings while striking out five to earn the win, while Jackson Park earned the save by pitching two scoreless innings to close the game out with four strikeouts.