The Kanab Cowboys finished off their back-to-back championship run on Saturday afternoon with a 13-12 walk-off victory over South Sevier.

The Cowboys found themselves down 9-1 midway through the game but were able to rally late, including a six-run seventh inning that saw them flip a five-run deficit into a championship.

“These guys kept breathing and kept their mind clear. They stayed in the present and none of them let the moment get to big for them,” said Kanab coach Craig Brinkerhoff.

Heading into the final frame down five, Kanab knew it would take everyone. Needing five runs, having two outs to spare and some potential runners on base, it was evident that all nine batters to need to contribute if they wanted to rally.

Kale Glover was first up to bat. Glover was able to draw a walk, which was quickly followed by a double to bring home, officially igniting the rally.

One by one down the batting order were tough at-bats trying to get every runner one base closer. After a fielder’s choice out at home and a pop fly, Kanab was down to just one out and still trailed by four runs.

Lane Sims was able to sneak a grounder far enough past the third base bag to cut the lead in half. Two batters later, Maddix Baird, who had left runs on the board when he closed the sixth inning, had a pop fly drop in center field that tied the game. All nine batters had contributed to the rally and the game was tied.

The order had wrapped around, but the inning was not over. Glover stepped up for his second at-bat of the inning. Instead of trailing by five runs, they were tied, and the championship run was only 90 feet away.

It only took Glover a few pitches to find one he liked, and he sent a 300-foot rocket to left field. By the time it hit the ground, the winning run was across home plate and the Cowboys bench was rushing the diamond.

“It is so surreal; we were down 9-1. We thought we were going to come back the whole game. We were resilient. We stayed in at it came down to that moment. That is what you live for. My teammates put me in a spot where I could get it done,” Glover said.

The first spark of the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Still trailing by eight runs, Baird hit a double and let out a huge roar to the dugout. The rest of the team reacted, and 12 runs followed down the stretch followed.

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On the moment, Baird said, “I believe in my guys and I love them to death. I got them and they got me. We stayed true to that formula and we kept the faith.”

Added Glover: “We knew we had to get baserunners because baserunners score. When the first guy gets out it can kill your vibe. As a leadoff you want to get on base. I knew if I got something started my teammates can pick up after.”

South Sevier proved to be a tough opponent, as it scored 87 runs over the week-long state tournament, giving multiple opponents all they could handle as they put together five straight wins to come out of the one-loss bracket to find themselves in the state championship game for the third year in a row.

“I give them a lot of credit; they can smash the ball and are really patient. They have great pitchers and a great coaching staff,” Brinkerhoff said of South Sevier.

Kanab was able to advance through the winners bracket in large part due to key performances from freshman Walker Baird, who hit a walk-off RBI on Thursday to defeat Beaver 1-0 before throwing six scoreless innings after inheriting a 3-0 deficit during Friday’s semifinal.

Playoff Willy, as his brother calls him, was quick to brush off those contributions as anything more than stepping stones to the bigger picture, but it allowed Kanab to have fresher pitching and momentum going into the final.

When asked what he wanted to remember from this championship moment, Baird, through emotion, said, “Getting to hug my brother on the mound. “Getting to win this together means a lot to me.”