No. 7-seed Union claimed a tight 3-2 Game 1 victory in the 3A championship series against No. 4-seed Canyon View.

The first inning started a trend that would continue throughout the game for the Cougars. Peyton Marx was walked to lead off the inning, and was eventually brought in on an RBI triple from Union third-baseman Gavin Roberts. Roberts hit 3 for 4 at the plate tonight.

All three runs scored by Union were batters that initially walked.

Union head coach Matt Labrum said, “That’s usually how most of ours are happening, and then we get a hit that drives them. I thought our guys did a good job of battling, we made them throw a lot of pitches.”

The Falcons wouldn’t go down easily, as they would answer back in the bottom of the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Cameron Calvez. It was his team leading 33rd RBI of the season.

Union took the lead back shortly after with a bases-loaded single from Gannon Labrum that brought in a run. Cade Frandsen, who had previously walked, scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to two runs.

Union did an exceptional job showcasing its team motto “Program. Team. Player.” The players were constantly cheering each other on and lifting each others head after a mistake.

“They don’t care who gets it, we just want to win. They just want to win, they don’t care who does it. Everybody just tries to do their job,” commented coach Labrum.

Union ace PJ Hancock certainly did his job on the mound tonight. He pitched a complete game, struck out four batters, and held a potent Canyon View offense to just two runs. The Falcons came into the game averaging 7.5 runs per game.

Coach Labrum said, “PJ is a stud. He has pitched a lot of big games for us, he’s pitched against the toughest teams that we’ve played. I think he’s grown up a lot learning how to pitch and not just be a thrower. He had some moxie up on the mound tonight and he wanted to be there.”

Union has continually been able to go to Hancock in high stakes games, he lives for the moment.

Hancock said, “It feels really great knowing that they can rely on me and I’m the guy that they trust.”

Hancock noticed a relief pitcher warming up at the start of the seventh inning and told his coach, “I want this one.”

He would finish the game out with a 1-2-3 inning, buoyed by stellar groundout stops by Tyson Marx and Gavin Roberts on the corners. He notched an emotional strikeout to finish the game.

With the win, Union moves one step closer to its first ever 3A state championship, it has previously won two 2A championships in 1988 and 1989.

Coach Labrum said, “That’s what’s fun, it’s one step closer and we can enjoy it for a little while and then we gotta get ready to go.”

Game 2 will be Saturday morning at 11:00 AM.