It was a familiar feeling to Austin Ovard, as if defeat was looming once again for the Snow Canyon baseball team.
Just a year before, the Warriors had dropped a pair of crushing losses to finish runner-up to Spanish Fork in the Class 4A championship. This season, in the 3A title match, Juan Diego had forced a second game. Everyone in the Snow Canyon dugout seemed tense.
"It felt like last year," Ovard says. "For me, it was just about avoiding the past. We had to come together and make sure it didn't happen again."
The senior shortstop and pitcher very much took Snow Canyon's season into his own hands, getting a crucial hit that led to a tying run in the second game, scoring the winning run himself and adding two RBIs in a later inning for insurance. He also pitched two shutout innings to clinch the title, completing a performance worthy of The Tribune's 3A MVP award.
But it was far from two games that defined Ovard's season. He was the team's top hitting threat, batting .417 and knocking in 34 runs for the year, but he also pitched for a 6-1 record with a 1.58 ERA and 51 strikeouts against only eight walks.
For a team that needed leadership when it was forced to forfeit games because of an ineligible player, Ovard was the Warriors' man.
"We took that pretty hard at first, but it brought us together," he says. "In the long run, we had been in must-win situations before, so it helped us relax when the championship was on the line."