Cottonwood baseball lifts its first state title since 2008Jul 06, 2017 02:05PM ● By Brian Shaw
The Cottonwood baseball team. (Jason Crawford/Cottonwood baseball)
When the Cottonwood Colts played Lone Peak earlier in the season, the Colts were on the losing end of the scoreboard, falling 5-0 on March 16. It was only the season opener, but it represented a beginning—one which was important to Cottonwood head coach Jason Crawford.
“On that opening day it was a tough day for us. We saw big arms in guys they’ve got like Seth Corry who’s a D1 signee,” said Crawford. “I don’t put too much stock into wins and losses on opening day. But that game helped to make us figure out who we were. It created our identity and created our character.”
Throughout the season the Colts continued to experience these ups and downs to which Crawford referred. But, by the end of region play, the Colts were peaking. They reeled off four straight victories, starting with a breakneck 14-13 thriller in extra innings over Jordan on April 29.
“That’s the win that got us going,” added Crawford. “It had challenged our team to that point where we really had to dig deep. And that’s something I told our kids; I really think Jordan’s a good team and when we had to battle like that, it really set the tone for us.”
It was the starting point from which Cottonwood would begin its magical run. That game against Jordan then set the stage for the Colts improbable state title run, a five-game stretch in which they won by microscopic margins of 3-1, 3-2, 2-1 and 2-1—before hanging 11 runs on Lone Peak May 26, forcing the defending state champs to succumb by the 10-run rule in an 11-0 victory to lift the trophy.
“I’ve honestly never written a lineup that was so different from week to week,” said Crawford. “We had some injuries in our pitching rotation, so that changed as well. We got healthy right as soon as the state tournament and by the time that started, we were able to grind.”
In so doing, the Colts won their first state baseball title since 2008 with a team that peaked at exactly the right time and certainly in the right place. Tough wins led to the blowout victory over their longtime nemesis—the same Lone Peak team that blew out the Colts initially, as a matter of fact.
The reason, according to Crawford, was simple enough but difficult to grasp for a team that had placed in the top three for three years straight—before it finally found a way to win it all.“We talk about ‘winning the moment’ and being prepared, we talk about the acronym W-I-N (What’s Important Now),” said Crawford, whose Colts won their first state title since 2008. “I’m a huge process guy; everything we do is based on process—the wins will take care of themselves. Having them focus on right now, that’s the biggest thing in our program.”