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Highland • Seth Corry has experienced his share of bad luck in championship games. The two-sport star for Lone Peak lost in heartbreaking fashion three straight times twice in football as a junior and a senior, and once in baseball last season when the Knights were one game away from capturing the trophy.
However, he missed chunks of all three of those seasons. He tore his ACL playing football late in his junior season, forcing him to miss the title game against Herriman and the majority of his junior season on the diamond. He returned deep into the year in baseball but wasn't at full strength when the Knights were swept by rival American Fork in the championship series.
He elected to sit out the football season before returning in the postseason to help Lone Peak advance to the state championship game, where it fell to Bingham.
Corry, who started playing baseball at age 7, is ready to dominate on the mound this season now that he's fully healthy. Perfect Game, a scouting service, rates the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder as the second-best left-handed pitcher and No. 23 overall high school prospect in the nation.
"He's got tools. He's very special," Lone Peak coach Matt Bezzant said. "On the mound, you can't teach a mid-90s fastball from the left side that has natural 10 inches of movement. He's a guy that will be able to jump higher than everybody, he'll lift more than everybody, he'll throw harder than everybody, he'll run faster than everybody. He's got some gifts that not many people get."
It's more remarkable because he plays in a cold-weather state and doesn't play baseball year-round. Corry was selected as a Perfect Game All-American this summer, joining Tanner Robles (2006), Marcus Littlewood (2009), Kayden Porter (2011) and Brady Corless (2012) as the Utah players to take part in the PG All-American Classic.
"Having the summer I had, seeing the potential that I had playing with the top guys in the country I'm so excited to be finally 100 percent bigger, faster, stronger than I've ever been. I'm excited to show my stuff," Corry said. "I can't wait."
The hot topic at the high school level these days is the controversy surrounding specialization in one sport. Corry, who pledged to attend BYU and is projected to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft, strongly disagrees with the method and offered advice to aspiring players who want to follow in his footsteps.
"The biggest things that I say is trust the process. It's hard to know how good you're going to be when you're superyoung. I was never the best player when I was young. You got to stick with it," Corry said. "Another thing is always work hard, no matter what. A lot of kids get caught up with wanting to do fun stuff with their friends. Really that's what separates you, is sacrificing that time you have with your friends to put in the work.
"I think the best thing for me is playing football. It taught me how to be strong and how to be tough. I think that's a big part of where I learned my aggressiveness. In baseball, you fail so much that you need that. You have to be aggressive and you have to compete."
Lone Peak enters the season nationally ranked and favored to win the state championship behind Payton Freeman (44 hits, 58 RBI, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 8 HRs, 6-2 W-L), Payton Barney, Eli Norman, Colton Easton and Corry.
Having Corry healthy "puts us in position to compete with anybody," Bezzant said. "You know going into the game, if he gives us a halfway decent game, no matter what we're going to be in it."
Despite the intense spotlight, Corry isn't concerned with the perception of being the top baseball player in the state or his future. His sole focus is to finally win that coveted state championship he's been searching for.
"I'm taking that on me," Corry said about the three shortcomings in the final games. "Not as pressure, but another huge motivation. I want this not only for me so bad, but I want this for my team, too. Three in a row did not feel good. I'll do anything it takes to win."
Defending champion • American Fork
Outlook • Lone Peak was one game away from winning the state championship before being swept in the title series by American Fork on the final day. The Knights are fired up and loaded. Will that translate to a championship? Despite losing the majority of their main contributors from last season, the Cavemen still are expected to contend for the championship as well, while Bingham and Cottonwood are habitually at the top of contenders. One dark horse this year is Lehi.
Defending champion • Timpanogos
Outlook • The Timberwolves remained virtually intact and are the favorite to repeat this year, but they will be challenged by Salem Hills, which is known for a deep bullpen, and Maple Mountain, which has improved its ability at the plate to complement strong pitching. Spanish Fork and Orem should also be in the mix.
Defending champion • Pine View
Outlook • The Panthers have owned 3A over the past two seasons, and while they're still expected to be in consideration for a three-peat, there is more diversity this year. Canyon View ended last season on a tear, while Dixie and Desert Hills represent the always-tough southern region. Watch out for Juan Diego as well. The Soaring Eagle have a chance to put together something special this year.
Defending champion • Enterprise
Outlook • Enterprise beat North Sevier two out of three times to win the championship last season. Graduation hit both programs hard, leaving open the door this year. Gunnison has an extremely deep rotation and could be an early favorite, along with Grand County and Summit Academy.