KEARNS — Taylorsville’s baseball team knows better than anyone that you can’t take anything for granted until the last out.
In the second round of the 5A state tournament last Wednesday, the Warriors blew a three-run lead in the seventh inning by conceding seven runs to visiting Lone Peak in a 12-8 loss.
That defeat was certainly on Taylorsville’s mind heading into the bottom of the seventh down a run to Riverton in Monday’s 5A one-loss bracket game at Kearns High.
This time it was the Warriors who made the big plays.
After Taylorsville loaded the bases in the seventh, Chase Huff singled home the tying run and Grayson Johonson came around to score the winning run two batters later on a botched pickoff attempt at first base as the Warriors rallied for the 2-1 victory.
“All you can do is go up every time and have a great at-bat and compete, and our kids did that all day long. That’s baseball. Sometimes things work out your way and sometimes they don’t,” said Taylorsville coach Jake Brown.
Through the first five innings, Riverton pitcher Ashton Montoya was firmly in control of the game, having allowed one hit with five strikeouts.
After a couple of walks and a single in the sixth, Taylorsville was able to chase the masterful Montoya from the game.
“He did a great job today. He pounded the zone, and kept us off-balanced all day long, and hats off to him. He had a great day. Luckily we were able to put some good at-bats together and kind of force him back into the zone a little bit and run that pitch count up, so we could get a chance at other guys,” said Brown.
After a quick one-two-three top of the seventh by Taylorsville ace Jordan West, it didn’t take the Warriors long to put Riverton under pressure again.
Zac Stepp led off with a single to left, and after two hit batters and a fielder's choice, the sophomore Huff stepped to the plate with ducks on the pond and one out.
“We love Chase all year long in the nine hole. He’s been absolutely a difficult at-bat for anybody. He leads our team in six-pitch at-bats, and always seems to go out there and makes it miserable on a pitcher. He makes adjustments,” said Brown. “For a sophomore he just understands the game really well and we’re confident in any situation that he’s going to have a good at-bat.”
Huff blooped a single to center to tie the game at 1-1, and two batters later Taylorsville’s winning run trotted home on a throwing error.
Riverton scored its only run on a wild pitch in the second inning, but had numerous other chances to blow the game wide open. West, however, pitched himself out of several jams with inning-ending double plays in the first and third. In the sixth inning, he got out of another bases-loaded jam with one out.
“He’s been our been our guy all year long, and he certainly showed up today. Struggled to find his stuff early, but once he got going he did a great job,” said Brown. “our defenders played really well behind him and when they threatened we were able to get a ground ball and a get a double play or somehow find our way out of the inning without giving up crooked numbers.”
With the victory, Taylorsville moves on in the 5A one-loss bracket and will face Pleasant Grove at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.