Stansbury • Brek Bentley figured he’d be playing ball for Tooele High right now.
But when Bentley first heard of the new high school that would be opening his freshman year, he quickly signed up for a club team in the growing community.
On Saturday, Bentley will take the mound for the Stansbury Stallions as they face Dixie in the first round of the Class 3A baseball tournament. He and his fellow seniors will be the first Stansbury class to have spent all four years at the school.
As a senior gift, they would like to leave a state championship.
“It would be great to set that tone for other classes,” Bentley said.
Stansbury coach Ray Clinton and his Stallions made a splash in 3A baseball as soon as the new school opened its doors four years ago.
“I knew what caliber of athletes we had,” said Clinton, who was an assistant at Tooele for two years before coming to Stansbury.” Our program just keeps growing. ... It’s a good baseball community.”
Last year, the Stallions put together a 20-win season. This year, they’ve amassed 17 en route to a region title. Stansbury has gotten good production from Bentley, center fielder Flip Anderson and short stop Wyatt Branch, to name just a few of the senior-laden squad.
“It’s a close-knit group,” Clinton said.
And it’s a group that is hoping to go out on top.
“That would be the dream,” Anderson said.
Kayden Porter, one of the state’s best dual-threats a year ago, is gone.
Brady Corless left a year early and is pitching for Salt Lake Community College right now.
And yet, somehow, the Spanish Fork Dons are once again a threat to win it all.
“We don’t rebuild, we just kind of reload,” coach Jim “Shoe” Nelson says. “To me, tradition never graduates. We don’t ever think we’re going to be down.”
The Dons put together a 16-5 season to capture the No. 1 seed in Region 12.
Nelson has seen Conner Johnson improve his velocity and breaking pitches, and step in Corless’ spot as the Dons’ ace this year. The team has also seen the emergence of seniors Braxton Argyle and Cam Money, and steady production from Lincoln Rivera.
The Dons, however, could be missing pitcher and outfielder Bennett Bradford, who suffered a knee injury while running bases last week.