Woods Cross • Junior left-hander Bridger Nielson threw a leather-slapping strike signifying the Class 4A state champions are ready to defend their title.
Skyline began its season the way it ended its last one, stopping Woods Cross 16-3 on Friday in the Eagles' first outing of the season.
Any cobwebs on Nielson's arm were gone by the start of the game. He pitched efficiently, with two strikeouts and three walks. Skyline's defense looked crisp behind him, stopping any threats the Wildcats tried to put together.
"Every single one of them was ready to play, ready for each pitch," Nielson said. "Whether I threw a strike or a ball, they backed me up throughout the game."
It was Skyline's confidence at the plate that proved to be too much for the Wildcats. Skyline jumped out to an early lead in the second before batting around in the fourth to score eight runs on six hits.
The Eagles played small ball and worked the pitch counts. They capitalized on Woods Cross' seven errors to quickly put the game out of reach.
"We wanted to play patient drawing some walks and making some big hits," Skyline coach Erik Hansen said. "We just took advantage of the situation."
Skyline's biggest stop of the game came from left fielder Nick Greene. Woods Cross' Kyle Rogers hit a line drive along the foul line, and Greene extended fully to bring in the ball during the bottom of the fourth.
"Nick's a hustle guy," Hansen said. "He lays it all out and puts it on the line for the team."
Hansen is encouraged by his team's outing and hopes that the early season nerves will dissipate quickly.
"We're a team that's going to battle," Hansen said. "Nothing is going to be given to us, and we can't start resting here."