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Murray Journal

Cottonwood baseball upset early in the state playoffs after a see-saw season

Jul 01, 2022 09:35AM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

To say that the Cottonwood High School baseball team had an up and down season would be a giant understatement.

On a team that had a number of impressive win streaks followed by baffling losses in the preseason, but had six seniors and then dusted their competition by sorting out their struggles to win their first title in the new Region 7, the Colts were riding high in that saddle going into the Super Regional of the 5A state tournament where they were not only seeded fifth—they got a bye in the first round.

That set Cottonwood [18-9] up for a 5A Super Regional showdown at home against Wasatch, ranked No. 13. The Wasps had just stung No. 20 Tooele out of Cottonwood’s same region, in the Regional, blanking the Buffs 10-0 and 2-0 in two straight games.

But if you were a betting man, you would have sworn that the Colts would have no trouble stomping all over Wasatch, because that’s precisely what Cottonwood did to Tooele in region play—except it was much worse.

That is why you play the games.

In game one of the Super Regional May 19, Cottonwood hosted Wasatch, who in the first inning scored four runs and handed the Colts a surprising 12-1 loss.

In game two, however, the Colts showed why they were the No. 5 seed in all of Class 5A, smashing home 14 runs in just four innings, including a grand slam by senior Jaycob Green, who before that tape measure home run had never hit one this season. But Cottonwood didn’t just score 14 runs on 13 hits; the Colts decimated Wasatch 14-4 in just four and a half innings on May 20.

That set the table for a do-or-die game three 30 minutes after the second game had ended, an elimination game that was as see-saw as Cottonwood’s season. The Colts coughed up a run in the top of the first inning, but scored four in the bottom of the second. Then Wasatch scored two runs in the top of the third to narrow the Cottonwood lead to 4-3. The Colts answered with a run of their own in the bottom of that inning to extend their lead to 5-3.

That’s when the Wasps stung Cottonwood with six runs in the top of the fourth, including a homer to put Cottonwood’s hooves back in a 9-5 pile of manure.

The Colts didn’t score in the fourth, but neither did Wasatch, and that gave Cottonwood some juice going into the fifth inning stretch. The home team desperately needed to get on base and start a rally, and they did just that on a double from senior Parker Burk in the bottom of the fifth.

Another Colt brought Burk home with an RBI double, and then yet another Cottonwood player hit a RBI double in a crazy inning that saw the Colts go through their entire batting order, watch Burk get hit by a pitch in his second at-bat of the inning, score five runs and take the lead back at 10-9.

Nobody scored in the sixth, which led to a wild finish in the seventh inning when Wasatch scored to send the game into extra innings.

The Colts were unable to capitalize in the bottom of the eighth like the visitors did, catapulting Cottonwood out of the 5A state tournament in a shocking early-round upset, a 11-10 loss.