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Prep baseball: Lehi's big seventh inning earns it win over Cottonwood in Class 5A playoffs

Published May 18, 2016 9:54 pm

Class 5A baseball • Pioneers score five in the seventh to win.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Murray • It was a sacrifice fly to center that moved a runner from second to third, but the teammates of Lehi's Cam Grace then mobbed the senior with a vigor rarely seen for such a play.

Maybe the Pioneers had some kind of collective intuition as to what was going to happen next at Cottonwood.

What was a nip-and-tuck Class 5A second-round playoff game tied at 3 entering the seventh turned into a five-run rally for the visitors. And that held up for Lehi (19-8), which earned an 8-5 victory over Colts.

"That's pretty much what our coach preaches is energy," said Lehi pitcher Jason James, who recovered from a rough start to get the win. "If we've got the energy, we play better."

Junior Drew Zimmerman started the top of the seventh with a double the opposite way to the corner in right field. Grace's sacrifice fly then moved Zimmerman to third and the next batter, Tyler James, then delivered the run with his own sacrifice fly to right.

With two outs, the Pioneers got extra life when a fly to right was misplayed by Cottonwood (23-5). Then the floodgates burst as Devin Smith drove a double to deep left-center and Kelton Higgins sent him home with a single.

James then socked the only home run of the game, sending a ball over the left-field fence.

"It was a curve ball. I knew [Cottonwood pitcher Brayden Bonner] he would throw it again," James said. "It just didn't break as much as it did the first time."

Colts' senior Wil Jensen started the game and was staked to a quick 3-0 lead as his counterpart, James, had control problems at the outset. Jensen and Cam Daley each singled in the bottom of the first, but that accompanied three walks and a Lehi infield error.

The Pioneers got two back in the third with an RBI double by Tyler James and a run-scoring single by Broc Hansen before Jensen worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam with a pair of strikeouts.

But Lehi eventually tied the game in the fifth when Devin Smith singled home Hansen.

Lehi, the third seed out of 4-5A, will play region rival American Fork in a quarterfinal game next Tuesday. Cottowood, which won Region 3, faces an elimination game against Jordan on Monday.

"The top of the seventh, our lead guy gets a double and our guys start believing," Lehi coach Jason Ingersoll said. "This Cottonwood team — they're a program. It's taking us a few years to become a program and this Cottonwood team has been ranked number one all year long.

"I'm really proud of our guys," he added. "They hung in there. Those first two innings were a little rocky, things didn't go our way. But James settled down and that was exciting to see, because we knew what he could bring." —

5A Scoreboard

Wednesday's Second Round

• American Fork 6, Northridge 5

• Lehi 8, Cottonwood 5

• Lone Peak 9, Mountain Crest 2

• Bingham 2, Davis 1

May 24 Quarterfinals

At Kearns High School

• American Fork vs. Lehi, 4:30 p.m.

• Lone Peak vs. Bingham, 7 p.m.




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