Prep baseball: Bingham, American Fork lead an open 5A field
At midseason, it wasn't looking good for Jordan.
The Beetdiggers had been waxed by out-of-state competition, and couldn't eke by some of the better in-state teams as well. A mediocre record could have overcome them with doubt.
But Jordan persevered through the lumps, and now sits on a Region 3 championship, looking ahead to see if it can twist a crowded field in its favor.
"There are always tweaks to be made, but we're hitting as well as ever," coach Ron Anderson says. "It's evidenced by the way we finished. And we're hitting well because we faced championship-caliber pitching early."
That should help the Beetdiggers improve on their third place finish from last year, going against Bingham and American Fork down the road potentially.
The Miners and the Cavemen played for last year's state championship, and since then not much has changed in the hierarchy. Bingham boasts two of the best ballplayers in the state: Arizona commit Brady Lail and Utah commit Connor Williams. With a roster that complements those two, the Miners have a strong chance to repeat.
That case is matched by American Fork, which has three starting pitchers who will all play in college next season. The Cavemen also have been one of the state's leading run producers.
Alta should also be a factor, after fighting tooth and nail with the Beetdiggers in region play and boasting one of the deeper pitching rotations in 5A. Region champs Davis and Taylorsville are on a bit of an upswing both have been relatively untested outside of their conferences, but they should play a big part in the chase.
The best first-round matchup could be between Taylorsville and a slightly overshadowed Riverton team, which has a puncher's chance behind pitcher Tanner Draper. Almost everyone has at least that much in the first round.
"This is the most open field I've seen," Anderson says. "Any team can get hot."